Urban Meyer has long been an advocate of keeping the College Football Playoff field at four, but he’s had a change of heart.
On Saturday’s “Big Noon Kickoff,” Meyer admitted that he has come around on expanding the playoff. His key reason is different than that of most other expansion advocates, however: He wants to encourage more players to play in games of importance. Meyer said:
“I have had some really deep conversations with some of my colleagues, and the game is changing. I can’t believe I’m saying it, because I’m a traditionalist. I love the bowl games, I love the bowl experiences. But you have two different sets of groups. You have the elite group, the high-profile players and the maybe not so high-profile.
“There’s two things important to elite players: NFL, College Football Playoff. If that doesn’t happen, they’re not going to play in bowl games. I’m not saying all of them, but I know coaches are dealing with that on a day-to-day basis. I say expand the playoff — I can’t believe that came out of my mouth. I know you guys are saying more teams are going to be involved. I say more players are going to be involved.”
Whether the playoff should be expanded is a heated talking point. Group of 5 teams feel left out of the process, and a four-team field ensures that at least one Power 5 conference will be excluded every year. On the other hand, there are concerns about the academic calendar and how many games a team can be reasonably asked to play in one season.
Meyer has been critical of the current CFP format before, but he’s never favored expanding it. If colleagues in the game convinced him that it’s the right solution, one has to wonder how many rank-and-file coaches would privately agree with the former Ohio State coach.