Urban Meyer talks potential College Football Playoff expansion
There is perhaps no coach in college football who has been more affected by the introduction of the College Football Playoff than former Ohio State leader Urban Meyer. He led the Buckeyes to two appearances in the four-team field, but could’ve been included three other times during his run in Columbus.
Meyer most famously led Ohio State to the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship, as the Bucks defeated Alabama and Oregon to claim the title. OSU would make its second and final appearance under Meyer in 2016, losing a shutout game to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State was not included in 2015, 2017 or 2018, but the Buckeyes had a strong argument each of those three seasons. After being left out that many times, Meyer has some interesting ideas about the four-team format and how to improve it.
One of the biggest downfalls with the current system, Meyer says, is the lack of consistent scheduling.
“I was involved in dozens of meetings about that, and Ohio State is the one school that you could probably say deserved to be in it a couple of times, “Meyer told Josh Pate of 247Sports. “In ‘17 and ‘18 we had really good teams. Actually, in 2015 we had an excellent team. You lost one game, and it’s how you lost, when you lost, etc. In fact, I’ve always been a proponent of equating scheduling … There’s the teams that play fewer conference games. There’s the teams that refuse to go play the hard games. We have to. Then you lose one.”
Meyer’s 2015 team is arguably one of the best teams in college football history to not win a national championship. A home loss to Michigan State late that season cost the Buckeyes a chance at back-to-back titles.
Though nearly all of Meyer’s teams — if not all — would’ve been included in an eight-team field, the former head coach warned against the risks of expanding the playoff.
“I think what’s going to happen is you have to be very cautious about the student-athlete and the student-athlete calendar,” Meyer said. “So, then we say let’s expand this thing to eight teams. Then you start to put the puzzle together, and how’s this puzzle going to work because a lot of these players that come to college to go play in the NFL. Right or wrong, that’s what happens. There’s a time in January when you have to declare if you’re going to come back or go. If you start extending this calendar with 85 scholarships, do you really want to add two more games. Then, what happens with finals week? So, the biggest issue will be the calendar and the wear and tear on the student-athlete.”
Student-athlete well-being has been a major consideration when talking about expansion. The possibility of adding even more games for players who are already participating in 13-15 contests could increase the risk of injury. Meyer obviously isn’t much of a fan of that.
Right now, there are no plans to expand from four teams to eight.