Thursday December 11th, 2014

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun criticized the format of the College Football Playoff on Thursday, saying that it's "un-American," according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Calhoun's remarks were directed at the fact that the playoff includes just four teams, meaning non-Power Five conference teams have little or no shot at qualifying for the sport's championship. He said the tournament should include eight or 16 teams.

“There’s no doubt that it’s all set up for five conferences, as it is,” Calhoun said. “You’ve got to be in one of those five conferences.

“It’s un-American, bottom line. We live in a country where upward mobility is possible, where games should be played out on the field.”

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According to the Gazette, Calhoun also decried the emphasis on having a strong a schedule in order to qualify for the playoff, which hurts teams in smaller conferences, which can't match the depth of the Power Five.

The coach made comparisons to other sports to make his point, using the examples of recent Final Four runs by small-school teams such as VCU and Butler in college basketball.

Boise State was the highest-finishing non-Power Five team this season, coming in at No. 20 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. No other non-Power Five team made the final rankings, which list 25 teams.

No non-Power Five team ever played for a national championship in the previous BCS system, though such teams qualified for BCS bowls in the latter years of the system on multiple occasions, including Boise State (2007 and 2010), TCU (2010 and 2011) and Northern Illinois (2013). 

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The four-team structure of the playoff has been criticized since the initial year's matchups were revealed last Sunday because of the fact that one Power Five conference is guaranteed to miss out on the playoff each year as is. It has been speculated that the playoff could be expanded in the future, but the contract mandating four teams runs through the 2025 season.

Air Force went 9-3 this season and finished fourth in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. The Falcons will play Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 20.

Ben Estes

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