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Malzahn wants 8-team playoff (Merged Threads)

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Gus Malzahn wants 8-team playoff, believes only AU could beat Alabama, clarifies SEC Network comment

Updated Jan 10, 5:33 PM; Posted Jan 10, 5:35 PM

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Gallery: Auburn in the Iron Bowl 2017

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By Tom Green

tgreen@al.com

Gus Malzahn is in favor of expanding the College Football Playoff field.

Making an appearance on The Triple Threat radio show in Houston on Wednesday, the fifth-year Auburn coach said he would like to see the playoff expanded from four teams to eight teams and believes that's the direction the system is heading, though there would have to be uniformity in scheduling across the nation.

"I would love for there to be eight teams," Malzahn said. "I'm an old high school football coach -- quarterfinals, semifinals..."

Malzahn believes that if the field were to expand from four to eight teams, it would require eliminating FCS teams from the schedule and require every conference play a nine-game schedule. The SEC currently plays an eight-game schedule, and Malzahn -- and several SEC coaches -- has previously been against expanding the conference slate to nine games, which was a topic of discussion at SEC spring meetings in 2013.

"I think (eight teams is) where it's going," Malzahn said. "We'll see what happens, but I'd personally like to see it."

Had the field been eight teams this year, Auburn would have likely been in the playoff as the No. 7 team in the final CFP rankings, which would have pit the Tigers against No. 2 Oklahoma in a potential quarterfinal. As it was, Auburn missed out on the playoff after dropping the SEC Championship Game to Georgia, which left Auburn with a berth in the Peach Bowl against undefeated UCF, a Group of Five program.

Auburn lost its bowl game and finished the season No. 10 in the AP poll, while rivals Georgia and Alabama -- both of which lost to Auburn in the regular season -- played for the national championship on Monday night. Malzahn said it "was pretty tough to watch" the game, which Alabama won 26-23 in overtime, knowing that his team handed both programs their lone loss of the season entering the final.

While seeing his team's two biggest rivals play on the game's biggest stage was a hard pill to swallow, Malzahn said he did take solace in knowing the Tigers were the only team to beat the Bulldogs and Tide.

"We felt all along this year that we were the only team that could beat Alabama, and of course it ended up being that way," Malzahn said. "We got a lot of guys coming back, and I know they're very hungry. Any time you've been close and you have a lot of guys coming back, it really helps you. I know we're going to be a hungry team. Now, you got to earn it in in our league. The SEC West is a monster. Every week you got to bring your lunch, but I really like where we're at."

Malzahn expresses displeasure with SEC Network to AFCA

Gus Malzahn is not a fan of the SEC Network.

Malzahn also touched on other topics during the segment in Houston, including voicing his opinion on the early signing period (he's not a fan and liked how things were but accepts that this is the new normal) and clarifying the remarks he made on Tuesday at the AFCA convention in Charlotte about the SEC Network.

During his roughly 30-minute speech at the annual convention, Malzahn expressed his displeasure with the network, which he said is now all about "trying to get the coach fired about every other day."

 

Malzahn backpedaled those comments when asked about them Wednesday, saying they were meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

"Really, I was having fun with that comment," Malzahn said. "I'm a big fan of the SEC Network. Now, did they say I was going to get fired? They probably did, but I was really having more fun with that."

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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1. If I were Gus I would do my best to never remind people that I was a high school coach...that's kind of the biggest knock on him that people like to use as a put-down.

2. I feel bad for the FCS teams in this scenario. Those teams make a lot of money off of those games and it's always awesome to see them occasionally knock someone off. Though this would encourage playing more of the smaller D1 teams instead. There are plenty of homecoming level teams in D1 football.

3. Not a fan of the early signing either, it seems to shut the door on a recruit that you might have been able to pursue for another month or two. This, however, does go the opposite direction as well; it is nice to lock down recruits that could have been swayed as well.

 

It does seem like the movement to 8 team playoffs is coming. I vote we quit having SEC championship games if we're going to be able to send multiple teams to the playoffs. Team that finishes with the highest ranking is SEC champs...boom.

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8 team playoff plus an extra SEC game plus the SECCG. Don’t like it. 

The rich can dig deep, playing five stars that were waiting on the bench all season; we would probably suffer a little bit more. 

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Couldn't agree more that Gus needs to drop the old HS coach banner.   He needs to embrace the "I'm a top-notch COLLEGE coach with a direct pipeline to the NFL".   Whether that's true or not.

Couldn't agree more that the 8-team playoff favors those that stockpile talent.   Look at that W AL team this year.   If other schools had experienced that many injuries, most would end up with 4+ losses.    Going to 8 teams makes it an attrition game.    Those with the most talent on the bench will be the big winners.     If i were Saban, I would vote for this all day long. 

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I'm cool with 4 teams but an 8 team playoff would've been nuts this year, it would've been a crazy tournament with the following teams (apologize for format, pasted directly from CFP website):...UCF would probably get in over Wisconsin though 

1 Clemson University Logo Clemson University 12-1
2 University of Oklahoma Logo University of Oklahoma 12-1
3 University of Georgia Logo University of Georgia 12-1
4 University of Alabama Logo University of Alabama 11-1
5 Ohio State University Logo Ohio State University 11-2
6 University of Wisconsin Logo University of Wisconsin 12-1
7 Auburn University Logo Auburn University 10-3
8 University of Southern California Logo University of Southern California 11-2

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8 minutes ago, Tiger said:

I'm cool with 4 teams but an 8 team playoff would've been nuts this year, it would've been a crazy tournament with the following teams (apologize for format, pasted directly from CFP website):...UCF would probably get in over Wisconsin though 

1 Clemson University Logo Clemson University 12-1
2 University of Oklahoma Logo University of Oklahoma 12-1
3 University of Georgia Logo University of Georgia 12-1
4 University of Alabama Logo University of Alabama 11-1
5 Ohio State University Logo Ohio State University 11-2
6 University of Wisconsin Logo University of Wisconsin 12-1
7 Auburn University Logo Auburn University 10-3
8 University of Southern California Logo University of Southern California 11-2

Whose to say they would've followed this format? If you are going to expand the playoffs, in my eyes, you have to try your hardest to make it fair for anyone. This means in any form of expansion, a team like UFC would need a puncher's chance of getting in, even if its a wildcard.

Edited by DAG
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3 minutes ago, DAG said:

Whose to say they would've followed this format? If you are going to expand the playoffs, in my eyes, you have to try your hardest to make it fair for anyone. This means in any form of expansion, a team like UFC would need a puncher's chance of getting in, even if its a wildcard.

I am of the opinion an 8 team playoff basically is keeping the door open for an undefeated G5 team.. Ideally you put 5 conference champs and then 3 at larges (1 being a G5 school if they're undefeated). I'm just assuming and guessing though I have no idea how the rankings would change if they were slotting 8 teams instead of 4 for the CFP

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6 minutes ago, Tiger said:

I am of the opinion an 8 team playoff basically is keeping the door open for an undefeated G5 team.. Ideally you put 5 conference champs and then 3 at larges (1 being a G5 school if they're undefeated). I'm just assuming and guessing though I have no idea how the rankings would change if they were slotting 8 teams instead of 4 for the CFP

I agree. I like the idea of 5 conference champions and 3 wildcards. In this scenario, I would guess the three wildcards would be UCF, Auburn, and Alabama. Oh, no 3 SEC teams in the playoffs! I know the masses would be unhappy but it does give a little bit more room for diversity. Also, I don't care if an underdog wins the conference championship. That shouldn't be the playoffs committee job to have the favorite prepared for a meaningful game.

Edited by DAG
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Wisconsin would be pissed but you will.always have the 9th team angry

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28 minutes ago, Tiger said:

I'm cool with 4 teams but an 8 team playoff would've been nuts this year, it would've been a crazy tournament with the following teams (apologize for format, pasted directly from CFP website):...UCF would probably get in over Wisconsin though 

1 Clemson University Logo Clemson University 12-1
2 University of Oklahoma Logo University of Oklahoma 12-1
3 University of Georgia Logo University of Georgia 12-1
4 University of Alabama Logo University of Alabama 11-1
5 Ohio State University Logo Ohio State University 11-2
6 University of Wisconsin Logo University of Wisconsin 12-1
7 Auburn University Logo Auburn University 10-3
8 University of Southern California Logo University of Southern California 11-2

Talk about making some money. Holy crap the NCAA should drool over this possibility.

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10 minutes ago, Tiger said:

I am of the opinion an 8 team playoff basically is keeping the door open for an undefeated G5 team.. Ideally you put 5 conference champs and then 3 at larges (1 being a G5 school if they're undefeated). I'm just assuming and guessing though I have no idea how the rankings would change if they were slotting 8 teams instead of 4 for the CFP

I agree with this Power 5 Champions +UCF +2 At Large teams

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What I don't like is the "best team" vs "best resume" debate. While some consider best resume to actually mean best team, a lot of influential people in the media actually don't. For example, some always have Bama winning the "best team" argument because they have the best players, best coach, etc. But just because your roster is equipped with the most talent if you don't have the best resume (lacking a division or conference crown, for example) you simply cannot be the best team.

This flawed logic is basically saying we don't even need to play the games and just let the recruiting rankings and media driven public perception decide who gets in the playoffs.

I'm not saying Bama didn't deserve to win the championship this year - they certainly played their way to the championship once in the playoffs. But make no mistake about it, Bama did not deserve to be in the playoffs.

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I'm sure most of us were frustrated with the way the playoff process allowed for bama to once again slip in the back door without playing for or winning a conference championship.  I saw recently where Gus is advocating an 8 team playoff, but I think that would be a mistake and here's why.

If they go to an 8 team playoff, that more than likely will include at large entries (non conference champs) into the field.  My thinking is that we should go to a 6 team playoff.  These slots would be filled by the 5 power five conference champions and 1 of the group of 5 conference champions.  That team would be selected based on which one was the highest ranked in the final AP poll.  We would be able to do away completely with the selection committee.  

To me, the beauty of this plan is how much less subjective this is compared to the current format, if you don't win your conference you are out.  The only other subjective element other than selecting which group of five champion gets in, is seeding the teams.  My idea would be that you again use the AP poll and the 2 highest ranked team would receive a bye.  This at least provides some type of reward for finishing high in the polls.

What does everybody think? 

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With his less than impressive number of bowl wins, how is Gus gonna win 3 playoff games in a row?

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Don't really see a problem with at larges. Personally I'd like to see it go all power 5 champs in, one group of 5 champ in, and two at larges. I think an 8 team would be interesting because you still need the selection committee to make those last two picks for the at larges which still makes controversy. This year for example would have been: Clemson, OU, OSU, thUGA, USC, UCF, with the at larges being chosen between the turds, Wisconsin, us, and Penn St. likely. With this though I think you have to have a consensus across all power 5 conferences to not play FCS teams and all conferences play the same number of conference games. JMO. 

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49 minutes ago, eulessau said:

I'm sure most of us were frustrated with the way the playoff process allowed for bama to once again slip in the back door without playing for or winning a conference championship.  I saw recently where Gus is advocating an 8 team playoff, but I think that would be a mistake and here's why.

If they go to an 8 team playoff, that more than likely will include at large entries (non conference champs) into the field.  My thinking is that we should go to a 6 team playoff.  These slots would be filled by the 5 power five conference champions and 1 of the group of 5 conference champions.  That team would be selected based on which one was the highest ranked in the final AP poll.  We would be able to do away completely with the selection committee.  

To me, the beauty of this plan is how much less subjective this is compared to the current format, if you don't win your conference you are out.  The only other subjective element other than selecting which group of five champion gets in, is seeding the teams.  My idea would be that you again use the AP poll and the 2 highest ranked team would receive a bye.  This at least provides some type of reward for finishing high in the polls.

What does everybody think? 

I don't think the AP poll can be used.  The AP requested that their poll no longer be used as a component.  

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1 hour ago, Tiger said:

What I don't like is the "best team" vs "best resume" debate. While some consider best resume to actually mean best team, a lot of influential people in the media actually don't. For example, some always have Bama winning the "best team" argument because they have the best players, best coach, etc. But just because your roster is equipped with the most talent if you don't have the best resume (lacking a division or conference crown, for example) you simply cannot be the best team.

This flawed logic is basically saying we don't even need to play the games and just let the recruiting rankings and media driven public perception decide who gets in the playoffs.

I'm not saying Bama didn't deserve to win the championship this year - they certainly played their way to the championship once in the playoffs. But make no mistake about it, Bama did not deserve to be in the playoffs.

So let me ask you this. In our scenario, we have 5 conference championships and 3 wildcards. In 8 team playoffs, do you think a 1 loss Wisconsin would be more deserving than a 3 loss AU squad? That definitely would be a fair argument in the "best team vs resume" debate

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1 minute ago, DAG said:

So let me ask you this. In our scenario, we have 5 conference championships and 3 wildcards. In 8 team playoffs, do you think a 1 loss Wisconsin would be more deserving than a 3 loss AU squad? That definitely would be a fair argument in the "best team vs resume" debate

I think AU would be more deserving based on who the wins were against and schedule. If you're splitting hairs, which is what you have to do here, I personally put more emphasis on number of quality wins over number of total wins (this is the argument against keeping UCF out of the playoffs, isn't it?). IMO better personnel shouldn't mean anything unless you get quality wins out of it.  Wisconsin didn't have a single impressive win this year -- their best win was against an 8 win Michigan team. AU's had 2 wins vs top 4 opponents (top 2 when it was all said and done), and 1 of the losses came against another top 4 opponent > Wisconsin's No ranked win and top 5 team loss IMO. Sure, I'm a little biased I'll admit that.

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I know this battleship is moving too fast to ever turn but since they've proven that the human bias will not allow a Boise St or UCF or whoever in why not just cut to the chase and create the Mega-Conferences or Div. 1A-Power or whatever you wanna call it.

Instead of 5, million team conferences where the schedule is pretty much the same every year except 3 games, maybe recreate the old Big 8 and SWC and redistribute the teams as regionally/historically appropriate? (Sorry, I know history & tradition are bad words to the younger generation...)

You now have 6 conferences with the "traditional" powers that have the real money and background to sustain as they've been for 30-50 years + room for two conferences to take on the "best of the rest".

You have 8 conference champs in the playoffs (thus allowing a couple Cinderellas in every year) and the rest can keep the historical Bowls alive....sort of an "NIT" if you will.

I know the "best team" people and the "best resume" people like to duke it out and I see the merit in both arguments.  However in the real world, where most of us live, work & breath, the results are what count.  You wanna go to the playoff?  Win your conference.  If that's the Rule, then nobody can complain about being left out due to human error or prejudice.

I know this won't fly with most f you but I'm bored and just thought I'd toss it out anyway.  Not like it would happen...

Edited by AUsince72
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3 hours ago, Zeek said:

1. If I were Gus I would do my best to never remind people that I was a high school coach...that's kind of the biggest knock on him that people like to use as a put-down.

2. I feel bad for the FCS teams in this scenario. Those teams make a lot of money off of those games and it's always awesome to see them occasionally knock someone off. Though this would encourage playing more of the smaller D1 teams instead. There are plenty of homecoming level teams in D1 football.

3. Not a fan of the early signing either, it seems to shut the door on a recruit that you might have been able to pursue for another month or two. This, however, does go the opposite direction as well; it is nice to lock down recruits that could have been swayed as well.

 

It does seem like the movement to 8 team playoffs is coming. I vote we quit having SEC championship games if we're going to be able to send multiple teams to the playoffs. Team that finishes with the highest ranking is SEC champs...boom.

Who cares if he mentions it. Biggest knock on Auburn as a University and put downs come from us having a Agriculture/Vet schools. The Barn, awebarn, cow college, hick u, etc etc. Anyone think we should hide those sides of our academics?

The Big 10 had already made that move with the FCS teams. Though I did notice today they will allow them if they only have 4 conference home games.

The early signing period also protects recruits. Keeps them from getting strung and then dropped before signing day by some of the major players.

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2 hours ago, Zeek said:

Talk about making some money. Holy crap the NCAA should drool over this possibility.

Games, I fear, would be even emptier. You would’ve had to use this guy’s plan of conferences to be able to have an 8 team playoff if you want people to actually come to games IMO:

Or at very least you’d have to offer some kind of ticket pricing structure to make it affordable. If you kept conference championship games you’d have to make them hosted on campus, ditto for quarterfinals.

Edited by AUwent

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Problem with 8 teams is money.  Tickets and travel are WAY to expensive to be going to 1 cross-conference game each year, then SECCG and then 3 more games after that.  If you did 8 teams would have to find some way to make it affordable for fans to go.  Whether that is 1st round is home game for higher seed.  This would put more money back into the college town & maybe be a little cheaper on the fan.

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Fine, then use the Coaches Poll.  The main thing is not allowing some committee to hand select “at large” teams (bama).

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1 hour ago, LKEEL75 said:

Problem with 8 teams is money.  Tickets and travel are WAY to expensive to be going to 1 cross-conference game each year, then SECCG and then 3 more games after that.  If you did 8 teams would have to find some way to make it affordable for fans to go.  Whether that is 1st round is home game for higher seed.  This would put more money back into the college town & maybe be a little cheaper on the fan.

Yeah I just say do it like the NFL the team with the better record or higher ranking plays host.

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Perhaps Gus suspects this year foretold the SEC's future and with it, Auburn's CFP future.  He has seen Auburn beat both uat and uga and still be left breathing fog marks on the CFP windows.   Without an expansion, we may never see another playoff during the rest of his time here.

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