Yesterday, Illinois head coach Lovie Smith brought up numerous topics regarding not only this past season, but for 2017, too, during his end-of-the-season news conference.
One topic that will interest not only Fighting Illini fans, but Big Ten fans as a whole, were his thoughts on the current College Football Playoff system.
“I believe in the eight-team playoff system,” Smith said, via news-gazette.com. “It seems like with four, some good football teams get left out. The four that are in there are worthy to be there.
“We’re in the Big Ten Conference. We had the best conference in football and our champion (Penn State) isn’t in it? I have a problem with that. How do you remedy that? You add more teams to it.”
Of course, Illinois didn’t have too much of a case to be made for itself for the College Football Playoff this season, whether it consisted of four or eight teams, but nobody can predict the future. Just two seasons ago, Michigan went 5-7 overall and looked like a dumpster fire.
Smith also talked about the B1G in general and his first season as head coach.
“It’s the best conference in football,” Smith said. “How much better can you get? I knew there were good football programs, and there are. I know getting Big Ten wins will be hard, and it was. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises.”
One area Smith addressed regarding his team going forward was the quarterback position. This past year, Chayce Crouch brought some excitement to the Fighting Illini program.
“Chayce came in and gave us a lift, toughness, throwing the ball and, of course, running it,” Smith said. “He won’t be ready for the start of spring ball, but he’ll be ready for training camp. He’ll come back sooner than everyone assumes he will.
“Looking from a defensive point of view, it’s a lot harder to defend. You would like to play an offense that is one-dimensional, that is going to pass and a quarterback that primarily has to stay in the pocket to have success. When you have a guy that is a little bit more mobile, that can cause you a lot more problems.”
Other notes from Smith’s news conference can be read here.