Majority of college football coaches dislike four-team playoff model

Friday November 21st, 2014

The majority of respondents in an ESPN poll of FBS football coaches expressed dislike for the four-team championship playoff that is to be played for the first time this year, ESPN reported this evening.

103 of the 128 FBS coaches took part in the weekly poll, with 44 percent of them expressing a preference for an eight-team playoff and 17 percent preferring a 16-team playoff format. 29 percent of the coaches who responded said they preferred the current four-team model.

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The results echo comments made by ACC commissioner John Swofford earlier this week, in which he said that an eight-team playoff "would probably be ideal," in terms of size. Swofford, who is on the College Football Playoff management committee, also said that he did not believe "all the controversy [of the four team field] is going to go away."

"You have four teams that get a chance to play for the national championship, which is twice as many as before. But whoever's fifth or sixth is not going to be happy." Swofford added. "There will be some [Power 5] conferences that won't have a team in the playoff."

Most of the coaches in favor of an eight-team playoff described it consisting of the conference champions from the Power 5 conferences, plus either the next three highest ranked at-large teams or the top-ranked Group of 5 conference champion and the two highest-ranked at-large teams.

Of the 17 percent electing for a 16-team playoff, the suggested format from one Group of 5 conference coach was the eight highest-ranked conference champions from the 10 FBS conferences, plus the eight highest-ranked at-large teams.

Four percent of respondents did not prefer a playoff, and two percent cast their votes for a six-team playoff and a 12-team playoff. One vote each was cast for a two-team playoff, a 32-team playoff and a 64-team playoff.

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This season's playoff, the first of a 12-year deal, is slated to begin on Jan. 1. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock has said "there has been no discussion of expanding," adding that his organization was dedicated to the four-team model for the length of the deal.

- Christopher Woody
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