The Picks: Expanding college playoffs; Challenging Sister Hazel’s Copeland


First of all, The Picks wants to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah or whatever way you celebrate the holidays and hope everyone has a Festivus Miracle in the coming year.

Secondly, because I have taken some vacation time off to deal with the store crowds that are about as annoying as the raised manhole covers on the newly-paved 43rd Street (really?), I haven’t weighed in on several subjects that have taken over college football.

Dr. Football is not going to mess with the whole UCF-UF thing because trying to explain it logically to some people is like trying to explain that we did really land on the moon and from there you can see the Earth is not flat and … oh, never mind.

But I feel a need to weigh in on the new playoff talk because Big Tenish commissioner Jim Delaney has been so vocal about it and there seems to be real conversations coming in the immediate future.

Three things:

1. Yes, an eight-team playoff would diminish games such as the SEC Championship Game we just saw. Slightly. But it would increase the importance of games that could get teams into spots 5-through-8. So to me, it’s a wash.

2. Everyone can post what the eight-team playoff would look like without thinking about how hard it would be on the players. I know, the lower division do it, but they are playing almost a different sport. You cannot expand the playoffs and keep the current structure of amateurism the same.

3. The biggest thing that should concern college football fans is that the process is creating a black hole. The same teams get into the playoff and then get the best players and then get back into the playoff and then get the best players. College football may be combusting from within.

Now, I’m all in favor of expanding the playoff. But I am not in favor of conference champs getting in automatically. I still think it should be the best eight — or six — teams according to the committee.

But what do I know? Except how to lose to Drew Copeland of Sister Hazel in our annual Bowl Extravaganza picks contest.

He got me again last year, so I paid for his lunch (really, Drew, caviar and lobster?) and will make a donation to Stop Children’s Cancer. And despite a solid year of The Picks (over 100 wins again), we all know that you are judged by the postseason.

We will be selecting the SEC games, the playoff games and the bowl games involving Miami and Florida State. Oh, wait.

MIAMI-WISCONSIN (Pinstripe): Remember late in 2017 when Miami was 10-0 and ranked second in the College Football Playoff standings? The Canes are 7-8 since then. Remember in 2017 when Wisconsin was 12-0 and ranked fourth in the CFP? Bucky Badger is 8-6 since then. Just a reminder that things tend to cycle in and out. Wisconsin, 31-18.

Copeland: Battle of the underachievers, Wisconsin.

BAYLOR-VANDERBILT (Texas): Vandy was difficult to figure all season. When you thought the Commodores were about to get over the hump, the hump won. Go hump. Baylor, 31-23.

Copeland: I know they are gonna break my heart and this could be one of the games that makes the difference but … Vandy.

AUBURN-PURDUE (Music City): For that rotten season the Tigers get a week in Nashville? Not fair. Auburn, 23-21.

Copeland: Live and die with the SEC, but I actually believe Auburn will pull this off. Auburn.

FLORIDA-MICHIGAN (Peach): Yikes, I buried the lead again. But we are going in order of when the games are played. No, I don’t know why I decided to do that. Anyway, I can’t get the last two beatdowns Michigan handed the Gators out of my head. I also can’t get “Funky, Funky Xmas” by New Kids on the Block out of my head. It’s not a place you want to be. Michigan, 27-17.

Copeland: All aboard the Mullen train… I’m in!! Florida.

SOUTH-CAROLINA-VIRGINIA (Belk): I watched a thousand games this season and I cannot tell you one thing about Virginia except the Cavs beat Miami. How can that be? South Carolina, 29-16.

Copeland: Go Muschamp … South Carolina.

NOTRE DAME-CLEMSON (CFP 1): Is anybody picking the Irish? Father O’Flaherty? The dude in the leprechaun outfit? I’m Irish, but … Clemson, 35-21.

Copeland: I’m still bitter about how much prime time TV Notre Dame has gotten through the years. Clemson.

ALABAMA-OKLAHOMA (CFP 2): Tua Tagovailoa says he’ll be fine for the game. I’m skeptical. If Oklahoma had, say, the 80th worst defense instead of No. 108 I’d go out on a limb. Alabama, 54-43.

Copeland: I could be wrong but… no, I’m not. Alabama.

MISSOURI-OKLAHOMA STATE (Liberty): Watch Missouri win this game and be the new darlings of the SEC East next year. The Tigers do have a lot of momentum going. Missouri, 47-34.

Copeland: This team was a lot better than its record showed. Missouri.

TEXAS A&M-N.C. STATE (Gator): This is one of those bowl games that I am looking forward to watching. Happy for my friend Rick Catlett for getting such a good matchup for his bowl. A&M, 29-13.

Copeland: I actually don’t like pulling for a Jimbo team. Texas A&M.

MISSISSIPPI STATE-IOWA (Outback): Probably the best thing about Florida playing on Dec. 29 is that we get to enjoy the Jan. 1 bowl games. Of course, we could last year, too, but that was different. Miss. State, 23-21.

Copeland: I hope they show up to play. Miss. State.

KENTUCKY-PENN STATE (Citrus): I can only hope this game has more offense than the 1998 game when Florida ran every down and beat Penn State. Penn State, 24-14.

Copeland: I actually heard someone say, “There is no way Kentucky wins this game.” Kentucky.

UCF-LSU (Fiesta): So the theory goes that Auburn wasn’t motivated last year but LSU knows what it is getting into and the Tigers will show off their dominance. Not so fast my friend. UCF, 43-31.

Copeland: I’m torn here because I really like the whole UCF story and everything, but LSU is too tough. LSU.

GEORGIA-TEXAS (Sugar): Remember when George Costanza got the Yankees to wear cotton uniforms and they shrunk? That was funny. Oh, sorry. I got sidetracked. Texas, 34-31.

Copeland: I guess we’ll see what the Dawgs are made of. Georgia.

NATIONAL TITLE GAME: Drew is sticking with his SEC homerism and picking the Tide. Call it a hunch or maybe too much eggnog, but I am going with Clemson. Wouldn’t it be something if it came down to this game? OK, I’ll wrap it up. Yeesh.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


  1. Michigan fans are bummed out b/c they always beat Florida and wanted better competition this year. But they’re running into a lot tougher, more physical Gator team than they are used to. Only one way to turn the perception around. GO GATORS – BEAT MICHIGAN!!!

  2. Pat, the fact that Jim Delaney, of all people, is leading the dicussion of CFP field expansion should tell you all you need to know. The guy who was dead set against the Rose Bowl joining the BCS because it was “an affront to tradition” now wants to expand the CFP field from 4 to 8. Could it be because the Big Tenish champs have been left out of the field of 4 the last 2 seasons? Where do you think the tradition of undefeated or one-loss teams winning NCs will go if the CFP field is expanded to 8?

    CFP expansion would turn college football into a junior NFL, where 9-7 teams can and do win Super Bowls and where the value of regular season games, especially major upsets, is severely diminished. Think in terms of how Mr. Delaney feels right now about Purdue embarrassing Ohio State. If we had a 6 or 8 team CFP field this season, that monumental upset would be just another meaningless regular season loss, like in basketball, where nobody pays much attention to upsets… until March!

    There is ZERO chance expansion of the CFP field to 8 would escape a requirement for conference champs “getting in automatically,” so long as Mr. Delaney is involved in that expansion plan. The requirement would come disguised in a fairness nod to Group of 5 conferences landing one of the 8 CFP spots IF one of their teams (like say UCF) finishes undefeated and ranked in say the CFP Committee’s Top 10. Once THAT door is opened, Mr. Delaney would use it to force inclusion of ALL conference champs (and Notre Dame) that finish ranked in the CFP Top 10 as well.

    NO THANKS!!!

    P.S. – Remember when the Gators couldn’t possibly beat Mississippi St. and LSU? Michigan is a LOT like those two!

    Go Gators!!!

    • We’ve (collectively) had this discussion before — it always seems to come up at this time of year for some crazy, inexplicable reason — but the main sticking points appear to center around (a) what to do about conference champions, (b) what to do about Group of Five, and, (c) what to do about Notre Dame. I had a light bulb come on this morning — if I read GatorGI correctly — that adds a new variable (to me, anyway). What will be the price of extended CFP in terms of extra player vulnerability to injury? That’s really the “Junior NFL” aspect of concern many would worry about, as opposed to teams with 9-7 records getting in.

      I’m probably going to spend a lot of time over the holidays thinking and re-thinking this whole thing again. Well, after the playoffs and NC game, anyway. Then again, maybe Gator65 and JawsofTruth were really onto something the other day when they were joking about airbags on helmets! Wishing you the best of the holidays, StL……

      • 6 i have one part of it solved. No conference no play. Except the military academies. Though some are in a conference. Those odds are long for them. But there should be no exception for someone that isn’t in a conference. After that while is love to watch more games there are a lot of pluses and minuses.

        • Boy Howdy, do I ever agree with that, 65. You have 5 each Power-5 conferences = 5 champs are already in. That leaves 3 more teams to be selected from the best of the Group of Five conferences……nominally, AAC champ, Conf-USA Champ, and Mountain West Champ. Notre Dame, BYU, and Army…..join a conference or don’t play.

          • Ole “DeWayne” here…you’ve got to include the power Five conference champions and next three highest ranked teams. This will keep the Conference Championships important, which helps promote regional interest. You could even fall back to the bowls having the first round being SEC vs ACC in the Sugar or Peach and Big 10 vs Pac 12 in Rose, every year for a traditional touch.

            If we’re scared of a 9-4 team winning the Conference Championship game, add a rule where they have to be ranked in the top 12…easy. Conference Championships have to matter, which will keep ALL conference games important. I don’t care about ND!!!!

          • I like it, write it up and we’ll present it at the next NCAA meeting!

            What’s with the new moniker, DeWayne? Let’s see….I’ll take a stab at it….Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering, 1981? Or, Behavioral Science Curriculum Expert? Naw….you make too much sense for it to be that!

          • Had to change my email address, switch caused a problem with this system. I couldn’t figure out how to change my email address with Pat’s system. Yes Civil Engineer from the UF College of Meat Grinding Engineering (they made you earn it!). I’ve had this payoff idea for a long time. Yes, who would not be happy? Who cares if the SEC pounds the little ACC champ 9 out of 10 years. It would be almost as big as the SEC Championship!

    • StL, 9-7 teams can and do win Super Bowls, because they earn their way into the playoffs based on objective criteria that every team is subject to. The Giants beat the Patriots twice when everyone considered the Pats to be the better team, and likely still do. A champion is one who takes on and defeats all comers. The Patriots had that opportunity and didn’t get it done. You can argue that they were better, but you can’t argue that they were the champions.

      You say you want to value the regular season, but excluding conference champions from the playoffs based on subjective opinions does just the opposite. If you want the national champion to be the “best” team, that’s a subjective opinion that allows teams to be excluded based on the supposed value, or lack thereof, of their victories. Conference championships are decided on the field, and each team has an equal opportunity to win their conference. Put every team in a conference and award the winners a playoff spot. If the supposed “best” teams get upset and fail to win their conferences, then the value of those upsets is truly respected.

      Ignoring the Giants victories over the Patriots, there’s still evidence that teams considered to be lesser teams can compete with the better teams. In the history of the Sugar Bowl, 47 games have matched Top 4 teams with teams ranked #5 or lower. The lower ranked teams, some of which were unranked, are 17-29-1 in those games. That suggests the “lesser” teams, especially if they are #’s 5-8, have an excellent chance to be competitive and at least a puncher’s chance of winning.

      Great discussion. Merry Christmas, Gator fans!

      • Joe, I understand your point. Mine is simply that college football has the most uniquely dramatic regular season of ALL sports in America today. I don’t want to see it lose that unique distinction. Even games vs. inferior teams really matter for teams vying for one of the 4 CFP spots.

        I’m a Dolphin fan who held season tickets in 1972 and attended every home game of their 17-0 season. Every season since then, I’ve cheered for the team that beats the last undefeated NFL team. So, I was ecstatic when the 9-7 Giants knocked off the 18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl. I HATE the Patriots!

        However, allowing a near 500 team a post season shot at an undefeated one in an expanded playoff field totally devalues the 7 additional victories by the undefeated team. Why bother attending, or even getting excited about those regular season games when they have marginally more value than exhibition games. On the other hand, I guarantee you that all Purdue and Ohio State fans will NEVER forget their regular season game this year, in which the Boilers embarrassed and knocked the Buckeyes right out of the CFP.

        Such great regular season memories are worth preserving.

        Go Gators!!!

        • Understood, StL. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into it, and I respect your opinion. I do think winning a conference championship should get you something, though. If Pitt had beaten Clemson, imo, that should be just as much a feather in Pitt’s cap as a knock on Clemson or a boost for a different team on the outside looking in.

          Anyway, that’s what this forum is for: friendly debate. Go Gators!

        • Stl fellow Phin fan. I am with you on the undefeated season. I think sometimes that is a curse on the modern era of the Dolphins. Alas that is for another thread. I have been back and forth on this as I see both sides. There are some real good ideas on here but I see the downside too. Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

          • Nah! The modern era Dolphins suffer from a case of mediocre ownership hiring mediocre management. The last great owner of the Dolphins had his name put on the stadium… before his family sold it and the stadium name was changed to that of an underwear company!

            THAT’s why the Dolphins suck!

      • Let me try to make my point a different way.

        I believe Pandora’s CFP Box was opened by the SEC in 1992, when it expanded to 12 teams, split into 2 divisions and created the SEC Championship Game. On that day, they introduced the possibility of a weak division champ knocking off a strong one in the championship game and making a mockery of the 12 game regular season. Fortunately, the beauty contest established for the BCS and CFP field of 4 still gives priority to full 13 game season performances over upsets in conference championship games.

        Suppose the sport were track instead of football and for 60 years we had an annual 10,000 yard race among 10 runners with the winner taking the trophy. Now, imagine adding two more runners in 1992 and not having enough room on the track for all 12 to race together. So, you break them up into 2 groups of 6 and have each group race the 10,000 yards separately, then take the winners of each group race and have them run an additional 100 yard “championship race” against each other for the same trophy. How is THAT 100 yard race a fair way to compare two 10,000 yard runners to each other?

        For better or worse, conference championship games are here to stay. So, the pressure to expand the playoff field to 6 or 8 and include all P5 conference champs is only going to increase as years pass and some keep getting left out of the field of 4.

        It’s just a shame that a day will come when losing games to Vandy and Kentucky IN THE SAME SEASON won’t hurt our chance to win a NC so long as we win the other 10 games, Georgia loses 2 games too, we beat them head-to-head and then win the SEC Championship Game, because a field of 8 CFP will guarantee the Gators a spot in the playoff as SEC champs.

        Would you be able to consider a team that loses to Vandy and Kentucky IN THE SAME SEASON to be anywhere near the class of college football?

        I know I wouldn’t!

        • Now that’s well put, StL.

          From my camera angle, I really don’t care how the conference champion is determined by each conference –that’s up to each conference — as long as each conference has a champion and conference champions go to the playoffs. If a Pitt wins their conference by defeating a Clemson, then that’s a lick on Clemson and better luck next time….the football sure takes some funny bounces sometimes. And, if that Pitt team survives the playoff against all the “better” teams with “better” records, then they certainly deserve to be National Champions.

          But what about Notre Dame? Or BYU? Or Army? Join a conference like everybody else, or just do the currently popular thing — sit it out and claim that you’re National Champions anyway. 😜

          • What’s the point of a regular season? With conference champs determined by a sigle championship game, there’s not much point (other than $$$) to subjecting athletes to injuries over 12 mostly meaningless games.

            Here’s a little Christmas fiction for you: Play a 10 game regular season. Expand the CFP field to 16 teams. Give automatic bids to ALL the P5 an G5 conference champs and have the CFP committee choose the other 6 at-large teams. Then, let them play it off in 4 rounds. If my math is right, this only adds 1 game to the current season for just 2 teams (10 regular season + 1 conference champ + 4 playoff rounds = 15 games vs. the current 14 game season for last 2 teams.)

            This suggestion should end all arguments. Conference champs (big and small) ALL get bids. Six at-large bids take care of the likes of Notre Dame, Ohio State and Georgia. It also reduces by 2 the number of weeks of meaningless regular season games where players can get injured.

            The playoffs could begin as 4 regional rounds of 4 teams playing down to 4 regional champs. 8 secondary bowls can host the regional playoffs, 4 NY 6 bowls can host the elite 8 round, other 2 NY 6 bowls can host final 4 and the season can end in a NC game that crowns a “true champion.”

            I call THAT suggestion “fiction” because none of the FBS universities will EVER agree to give up the $$$ lost from the 2 meaningless regular season games that would have to be eliminated just to protect our “precious” atheletes.

            Go Gators!!!

          • Now I for one could live with that — tho at the expense of saying good idea — good idea, StL. In fact, I like it all the say through the notion of regional champions entering the final mix. I would say that the “at large” bids go based on merit as opposed to who they are, who they were, or in some case who they think they are…..but yeah, I could sure live with that!

            But as you say, probably fiction. Good thinking tho, bud.

        • You’re right about the SEC championship game, StL, and it almost happened the first year. The 8-3 Gators almost beat the undefeated Tide, but for an unfortunate pick-6. Of course, the Tide then went on to beat Miami for the NC. I could live without the championship game, but even with it the regular season has meaning, because it’s your performance in the regular season that get’s you to the conference championship game.

          Exactly how strong is the “strong” division champ if it can’t defeat the “weak” one? If the supposedly “weak” team defeats the “strong” one, was the strong team not as strong as previously thought, was the weak team stronger than previously thought, or was it some combination of the two? The “strong” team should look at it as a bit of good fortune to be facing a relatively “easy” opponent, sort of like a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament getting to face a #10 seed in the Sweet 16 instead of the #4.

          I’d like to see a format where conference schedules allowed each team to play every other team in the conference. That way, the championship would be decided by conference record, with tie-breakers if needed, and there’d be no need for a championship game. The conference champion would be a true champion, and, in my mind, deserving of a spot in the playoff. If a team perceived as weak still makes the playoff, then the strong teams should look at it as an easy opportunity to advance to the next round. If a “weak” team can win four games and take the championship of a 16 team playoff, then I’d say they weren’t really a weak team. But that scenario is more of what you’re calling Christmas fiction. Hope you had a great one.

          • Joe, if the FBS were to move to a 16-team playoff tourney, the nature of the sport will change forever. Whatever team makes it through that 4-game gauntlet can rightfully claim the NC trophy, regardless of their record at its start. And since ALL 10 conferences will be represented and worthy independents can claim an at-large slot, no school will ever again be able to claim they were left out, as UCF did last season. And may do again this season.

            Hope you had a great Christmas too!

        • I guess I didn’t specifically answer your final question in my previous post. I don’t see your scenario as likely, if you’re assuming the traditionally “weak” Vandy and UK teams we’re accustomed to. Generally speaking, no, I wouldn’t consider a team that lost to those two as being among the season’s elite teams, but then I also wouldn’t expect that team to beat a traditionally strong UGA, either. But if their regular season record gets them to the conference championship game and they win, then they are the conference champions and deserve whatever recognition comes with that accomplishment. If that includes a playoff spot, so be it. If they’re really no good, then they’ll get exposed. If they play well, then they’ll prove themselves, and if they should win it all, then they’ll earn the title of “champion”. Championships have to be determined objectively on the field, not subjectively by our perception of who is or isn’t the class of college football. A playoff isn’t necessarily about determining the “best” team; it’s about determining the winner who will be crowned as champion. If the winner also happens to be the team that most consider the “best”, that’s great. If the winner turns out to be a supposedly “lesser” team, I still have no problem calling that team “champion”, because they won it on the field.

    • Ocalarob, you are correct about Mullen’s ability to design an offense capable of beating opposing defenses such as he did in 2006 and 2008. Here is the only problem, he doesn’t have Chris Leak or Tim Tebow at quarterback. Having said that, I feel like Feleipe Franks was playing his best football by the end of the year and the extra month of practice should help. Gators over Wolverines by 7.

  3. since its festivus, let me air some grievances, jerry stiller style.
    1. why pick south carolina. even if they are winning they will lose. stop it with mushchamp. please. the man has a huge strength to weight problem.
    2. bowl games have become like watching nfl exhibition games. no one knows anything when they are done. they are the bagels of college football and should be boycotted.
    3. ucf’s danny white gets the foley award for turning down playing the gators. he just told his kids he didnt believe in them. they no longer deserve mention for anything. their university just lost every feat of strength argument for the next 35 years.
    4. $300 million on a few practice fields? take the money and buy IMG here in sarasota. you can get the best players there instead, for cheaper. its become like two fathers fighting for a doll and tearing it in half. there has to be a better way
    5. the tampa rays owner $tu wanting money from the local citizenry. he just wants a check for his human fund, which isnt even a registered charity.
    6. the buccaneers owner taking the teams money and sending it to his soccer team manchester united, and their team still getting worse. no feats of strength for either.
    7. having to read about georgia, missouri, arkansas, south carolina in order to read about the gators. can we have a commuter command to get rid of #$!^&% like that so we dont have to read it, in other words, print more for the rest of us, you know, the gator fans, please!
    8. expecting miracles. why cant we be happy about the ones we have already, but instead we keep wanting to fire coaches because the 2nd string safety played cautiously. look, if things went perfect, that would be the true festivus miracle.
    9. reading most other sports sites. not that gatorsports is perfect, but who are these people, why cant they say anything but nonsense. imgoing to go on strike on even more of the media this next year.
    10. some of the bad posters. we have some really good ones, you all know you are great. but then, we get the fire mike whiters, the we will suck for ever people because our luck ran out against kentucky people in cdm’s first game, the kirby smart is great at calling trick play people, the we have to have 50 5 star recruit people, the people who are personally offended when they disagree with a prediction, the people who go nuts over the slightest suggestion of trying something different when things are not really working and all the other stuff you have to suffer through to get to the good stuff. they are the aluminum poles in a world of christmas trees.

    Merry Christmas everyone, here’s looking to another year with things we can feast on.

  4. I see the logic in picking Michigan, because that is what the past has revealed. But predictions are about the future and some times you just go with a hunch. On paper, my pick is Michigan; but I think Florida comes into this game with a focus and a confidence that was not seen in any of those previous matchups. Gators, 24-20.
    As for the playoff, I’m about to piss everyone off and say that I sort of miss the old times where the four major New Year’s Day bowls meant everything. Even the lesser bowls such as the Gator and Sun provided interesting games that meant something. I still believe college football is at its heart a regional game where people care more about their conference and regional rivals then they do the national championship, which may be less controversial with an expanded playoff but far less interesting for the game.

  5. ”You cannot expand the playoffs and keep the current structure of amateurism the same.” -Pat Dooley.
    It’s sooo true! The level of hits these ”amateur players” take, man, most football fans can’t even IMAGINE what that does to a body. Even high school hits take a toll, just ask ”Drew.” As we once played for the mighty Purple Hurricanes together, way back in the day.
    And the # of games could be as high as 3-4 extra games (for the National Championship game participants). And it isn’t right to ask for that many hits from these young football players.
    So get over it college football fans that want more playoff games. Ironically, they’re probably the same fans bit#hing about the large # of bowl games. Ultimately, I think FOUR teams is AWESOME! But the Florida Gators gotta’ get there, in my lifetime, please! MERRY CHRISTMAS GATORS!

    • I started to reflexively rail against that comment by Dooley, but decided instead to think about it for a while since I couldn’t see a connection to amateur athletics. However, it seems that your take was the intended meaning, so I’m happy to say now that I get it. Thanks, GI….Merry Christmas, bud.

  6. Whew! Glad Pat picked Michigan, and I hope Robbie does too. I would afraid that both of them would jinx us! 😉

    Seriously though, I knew going into the game last year against Michigan was going to be a bad result. We lost that game for three main reasons…

    1) Doug Nussmeier as offensive coordinator. I’m 53 years old, and I cannot recall another OC who was not only as BAD as Nussmeier is (not even Bill Curry), but as totally UN-qualified to be a college level coach of any kind.

    2) We were soft, physically and mentally. Worst S&C program I’ve ever witnessed at UF under coach Kent, as McElwain’s teams got pushed around and both physically and mentally intimidated against each quality opponent they played. The beat-down by UGA was the breaking point, and

    3) The pre-season suspensions of numerous players. Totally disrupted the entire team from a mental, confidence, and cohesion standpoint… not to mention that an obviously emotionally unstable McElwain basically mailed in his final season at UF right after he announced the suspensions. The season was over then and there. There was no salvaging it.

    None of the players wanted to play for those coaches, and the none of the coaches wanted to make any further investment in those players or this program, and when Michigan played UF in the opener last year, the Gators were just a shadow of a shell of those mighty Meyer teams we once saw take the field.

    That isn’t the case this time not this season, not under Mullen. Win or lose next Saturday, these Gators won’t lie down and quit like McElwain’s Gators did. They will go blow for blow with Michigan and bloody the Wolverines’ noses and make them know they had to fight a war against UF.

    Add to that, that I see UM players holding themselves out of the game because of the NFL draft, that’s just like having players who got suspended. I don’t really see the investment in this bowl game by a Michigan team that got manhandled by Ohio State and knocked out of both their conference title game and the play-offs. I can see Michigan coming into this game much like AU went into the Peach Bowl last year against UCF… totally uninterested and un-invested, and facing a Gator team who’s sick and damn tired of being Michigan’s whipping boys.

    Florida wins 28 – 24.

  7. Only two teams would be impacted at all physically by an eight team playoff.

    121 teams would not be involved.

    Four of the eight would play one game and go home, which is the same as going to a bowl.

    Two of the remaining four would go home after playing two games– just as two teams play an extra game now. Have the players bones turned to dust from the extra game?

    Two teams would play a third game. So, this big impossible impact would actually only impact two teams, which logic suggests will be rostered with the best and most well-conditioned athletes in college football.

    If any of the schools that has a reasonable shot at being one of the two teams impacted by this terrible toll is concerned about it, then give them an option to opt out of the playoff– or maybe they should drop football because there is a change in every game a player will suffer a permanent injury. More players have died in offseason conditioning drills than have ever died in a game, yet we don’t hear people calling for an end to the “grueling and deadly” practice of practicing because of the “impact on the players.”

    Nope. What it will really come down to is money!!! If it looks like there are enough extra dollars to be made with 8 teams, there will be 8 teams. If the current system is worth more, it will remain.

    • Agreed, and not only that, several of the 8 playoff teams will not have played in a conference championship game (if the best 8 teams are selected for the playoff) therefore causing less physical stress on those players.

    • You’re correct again Jaws. It’s ALWAYS about the money! That’s the reason the playoff field WILL expand when the current CFP TV contract expires in 2025 despite some unintended consequences.

      The Big 10 has now been left out of the party 2 years in a row. The PAC 12 was also left out this year. And if Georgia had managed to pull off a win over Bama 3 weeks ago, both SEC teams would have been in and the Big 12 champ would have been left out too! For 3 Power 5 conferences to lose out entirely on the CFP money in the same season is a MAJOR disaster (LOL!)

      That MAJOR loss of revenue (not to mention national respect) will be the driver for expanding the CFP field to 8 teams, with a guaranteed spot for ALL Power 5 champs and a bone of a spot thrown at the best Group of 5 team to avoid lawsuits. The unintended consequence will be seen in the stands during the regular season, in the form of thousands of empty seats for many games now made practically meaningless by guaranteed playoff spots for ALL Power 5 champs.

      That’ll be a shame, but we can’t make a really good playoff omelet without breaking some regular season eggs.

      Too bad!

  8. So, Pat, if a team loses its first five games and then suddenly it all comes together for that team and they win the next seven games in a row, that team should get into the playoffs because they are the best team at the moment and at the expense of a conference champion that played well all year? Winning a conference title should mean something other than getting a trophy. I hate the baseball wild card system, for example, that allows a non champion to sneak into the playoffs and beat a team that played well for 162 games during the regular season.

    • Actually taking the conference champion could mean you end up taking a team like Pitt or Northwestern this year. If Pitt would have pulled the upset, most of us would have still preferred to see Clemson in the playoffs. There isn’t a perfect system.

      • Sparky. Several points:
        1. If Pitt had beaten Clemson, they would have been the ACC conference champion and would have beaten Clemson in basically a playoff game in the conference title game. Why would they, then, not be deserving over Clemson to make a playoff that including all conference champions? And if Clemson lost to Pitt, they clearly would not be one of the best teams in the country and I would not want to see them over Pitt, the team that would have just beat them in a game and on the field of play.
        2. If the NCAA expanded the playoff system (hopefully to 16 teams), it would likely put an end to the conference championship games in order to reduce the games college teams are playing during a season. So Pitt would not have received an unjustifiable (to that point in the season) opportunity to play Clemson and therefore possibly deny the better team (that had a much better season at that point) to make the playoffs. Same concept with Northwestern.
        3. Ohio State, the team that beat Northwestern, was clearly one of the best teams in the country and under Dooley’s view, they should be in the playoffs but are not because the current system is limited to four teams, unfortunately.
        4. And please tell me that Georgia, a non conference champion, deserved to be in the playoffs even after losing to Bama. Clearly not. But, if there was no conference championship game, Georgia likely would get into an expanded playoff system after going 12 – 0 and 8- 0 in the SEC (and as a co-conference champ).
        5. I am for reducing the regular season back to 10 games (and therefore eliminating the type of Charleston Southern and Presbyterian games now being played in conferences across the country), with all conferences playing a 9-game conference schedule and being forced to schedule a lower 6 conference game (vs. UCF for example) and the one non conference game. Best for the players. Best for the fans. Best for determining a true national champion. But it makes way too much sense. Therefore, the NCAA will never do it.

        • Swamp if we go to 10 with 9 conference games that makes or one ooc game FSU. I think that would get boring. If I’m understanding things. Further the schedule would also reduce the number of home games that fans and the university like. $. If this was tv only it would be fine. But season ticket holders want home games. I’m not for 10 games but I am for scheduling better teams. Picking conference champs win you’re in is for ‘ fairness’ sake a way to do it. The conferences are not equal in strength and quality hence the champion may not be the top team. While it would settle which conference is better may not settle which takes are better.

        • To point 1: you really think a purdue is better than Oh St? It was clear Oh St just had an off week and is head and shoulders better than Purdue, so no I wouldnt want to see Purdue in the playoffs in your scenario.
          to point 4: In this scenario Ga would clearly need to be in the playoffs because they may be the 2nd best team in the nation and deserved the opportunity to beat the other teams in this 16 game playoff scenario to prove it, though we would expect them to lose to Bama again(just as we would expect all the other teams in the playoff to lose to bama).
          To point 5: To move to 10 games means the huge loss of revenue of 2 games to the other 113 teams in the FBS not in the playoffs and That makes “NO sense” to the “NCAA”!

  9. I dont have an issue with Pats pick. UF is historically mediocre in bowl games where the result doesnt really matter, It would be awesome if we won, but we should put up or shut up against a team like UM. Lets nail them now so we can go into 2019 on a high note.

  10. StLGator and I have been discussing an expanded playoff on the Parity forum. While I highly respect his contributions to the discussion I find myself in support of a 8-team playoff. I also completely agree that the current 4-team CFP makes the regular season and conference championships the most intense of any sport. No room for a slip up. At least one conference champion is going to be left out every year and two in years when Nortre Dame is worthy. However, in the long run I don’t see the Big10 and Pac12, or any conference, accepting the fact that they won’t get one team in every year. A few more exclusions and there will be serious grumbling no matter what they say in public. There is too much money involved.

    However, my support comes with a caveat. No more scheduling of FCS opponents by FBS programs that want to be in the hunt for the CFP. Scheduling of a FCS opponent should be treated as exhibition game, not a win for qualifying for the CFP, let alone bowl eligibility. One of the best things to come out of the NCAA basketball tournament is the plethora inter-conference heavyweight matchups early in the season. It’s great watching the power conferenc teams go up against each other. Coaches love them so they can test their team without the threat of a loss eliminating them from the tournament. As of now there are maybe 10 good Power 5 inter-conference football matchups each year until rivalry week. I would love to see Florida go up against a Miami, OSU or USC at the beginning of every year instead of a FCS school. Wouldn’t that make for a better regular season? Usually Florida has only 3 marquee home games each year. The rest are fluff. No more fluff!

  11. Pat: In your item 2 above, you said “I know, the lower division do it, but they are playing almost a different sport.”…you can’t leave us hanging with what seems like a gratuitous assertion. You’ve got to explain that.