Kirby Smart on Playoff Expansion: “Let’s go to 12”

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Kirby Smart on Playoff Expansion: “Let’s go to 12”

Kirby Smart was asked about playoff expansion during his joint presser with Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell Thursday morning. His answer may surprise many fans.

Kirby’s endorsement of a 12 team playoff might get the ball rolling with College Football Playoff. The first reaction of many fans could be that the NCAA will never expand the playoff, but fans should remember that NCAA has no control over the football championship. In fact, the NCAA does not even recognize a football national champion.

With bowl opt-outs occurring more frequently, the post-season bowl trip that was once viewed as a reward to players is dated, at best. Many bowls that should be great games have become less than compelling as teams play without some of the best athletes, although it is always nice to see a result like Florida’s beat-down last night.

 I’ve always been of the opinion the decisions and the outcomes and the championships and the trophies should be decided on the field. It’s harder and harder every year to agree it’s decided on the field because there’s somebody arguably that’s left out. 

Always go back to the year that we were in it, Alabama sits at home, doesn’t play in an SEC championship game.  They’re the four seed. You could argue that, in fact, may have helped them with one less game. They won a national championship from a four seed. 

What’s to say the fifth seed, sixth seed or seventh seed doesn’t get hot, doesn’t play well, doesn’t have an opportunity to win? 

The problem I have is where that clear line leads to what number that is. To say that it’s just eight because that’s double four, I think you’re going to have major issues at nine and 10. If you’d done that this year you would argue 

Luke and I would be sitting here saying we should be in.  You’re going to have to pick a number. 

If we were going to do it, I would be in favor of saying let’s go to 12, have eight teams play out, maybe the first four get a bonus or a bye or something like that. I would just rather go further than eight if we’re going to do it. 

If they did that, somebody within that back five, six, seven, eight is going to win a national championship at some point. That’s giving everybody a realistic shot. 

At the end of the day, how are all college sports decisions made? They’re done on the field, in a championship environment. We’re one of the few that’s not done that way. It makes it different. 

KIRBY SMART AND LUKE FICKELL JOINT PRESSER 

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