For those sharing the sentiment an expanded College Football Playoff field would dampen the product, TCU head coach Sonny Dykes disagrees.
“There was probably about a six-hour period at some point in my life in the middle of the night where Mike Leach actually convinced me it was good for a 64-team playoff. But that’s another whole story. … I woke up the next day and talked myself out of it,” Dykes said at his CFP national championship press conference Tuesday.
“I think 12 is going to be great. I think there’s a lot of good football teams that deserve to be in the playoff. And I’ve always believed that the cream rises and the more opportunities that schools outside of the traditional brands get, the more those schools can become traditional brands.”
Dykes said he finally sold Leach on shifting away from the Big Dance or NCAA Tournament type of bracket on the reality that teams “can’t play two games a week.”
TCU hired Dykes after a 5-7 season and at 13-1 will play No. 1 Georgia for the national title on Monday. A win over Michigan in the CFP semifinals brings TCU newfound “credibility” as more than a small, private school.
He opined Monday that just that one should change some perspective about what playoff expansion will mean to other programs viewed as secondary to the usual powers of the sport, like Michigan and Georgia.
“I think if you exclude them, it’s hard to break in. And I think this will give a lot of schools like TCU an opportunity to get in the mix and show what they’re capable of,” Dykes said. “And we were fortunate this year to get into the four-team playoff. And we were fortunate to beat a very good Michigan game and advance. And our prize is we get to play Georgia now.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart can win back-to-back national championships and has been through the extended 15-game season that would likely be required to win a title under the 12-team playoff format. Smart said the longer season is a matter of context.
“At the end of the day, the gap, the space between the last game being the conference championships and the semifinals probably bothers me more than anything else because I think you lose rhythm there,” Smart said. “So I don’t know that it’s the total number of games as much as it is the layoff in between. If it was continuous, I’m not saying you wouldn’t tend to see higher scoring — you probably would see higher scoring — but I don’t think it would be as bad of some of the performances.”
—Field Level Media