Mike Leach is not one to ever hide his opinions, and for that we thank him. You might not hear him go into vivid detail about his team, but bring up pretty much anything else and he's got a story to tell, or viewpoint to share.
One of the topics he's revisited through the years is the college football postseason - and more specifically of late - the four team playoff. Leach has said over and over the College Football Playoff should be expanded. This week he delivered the magnum opus of Mike Leach rants, on the absurdity of the highest level of college football failing to expand the postseason to match what's done literally everywhere else.
“They scratch their head and they give a really befuddled mixed up look,” Leach said. “And they get a really screwy expression on their face like ‘how could that possibly be? How could we possibly do that?’”
Well there are some questions. Since the bowl system is so engrained in the FBS, going well beyond a four team playoff would require some re-tooling. Fortunately, Leach didn't end his rant there. He went on to explain exactly how it could work.
Leach said they should include a minimum of 16 teams, but would really like to see them get to 64 teams. He said they should target 16 total games. In a 64-team playoff there would be six rounds in the playoffs. That would leave us with 10 regular season games. Add a bye week and that takes us into early-mid November.
Then they figure out the 64-team field, which basically splits the ranks of FBS programs in half. Leach says every team should be guaranteed 12 games - so those squads that don't make the playoffs arrange games against one another. Leach isn’t worried about those games going unnoticed.
“My wife would watch it. I go home after a hard day’s work and there’s something on on Thursday. You want to know where the sandwich stuff and the grocery stuff is and you can’t because she’s watching the game.
“Yeah they’d watch, and they’d watch a lot.”
There’s no question that fans would watch the 64-team playoff itself. In this scenario the first round would begin around Thanksgiving. Leach thinks the first round games should be played on campus sites.
Then you get the bowl games involved. There are currently 40, including the National Championship. Trim that number to 31 and you have one for each remaining game once you get into the second round. Teams could travel from site to site, and it could be done on a region by region basis - just as it's done in March, in hopes of minimizing travel.
So with six rounds - plus one week off before the semifinals or the title game - and you're finishing in early January just as we do now.
Can you imagine how fun this would be? The possibility of upsets, Cinderellas and all the stuff that makes the NCAA Basketball Tournament one of the most entertaining events in sports. Leach says they could have the same thing in football.
“If there’s something riding on the game if all the sudden people just like they do in basketball they select teams or dark horses or favorites that they wanted,” Leach said. “They’d have little sheets with office pools and everything else.
“It’d be fantastic. And there’s no disputing that it would make a lot more money, and it’s just who gets the money and I think that’s the biggest rub on the whole thing.”
Just for fun I put together a hypothetical West Region, to show what one quarter of the bracket could look like based on current rankings. You've got Georgia as the number one seed, with Wazzu as the two seed in that bracket. USC and San Diego State are the other high seeds. You might notice a bunch of Pac-12 teams, as well as Boise State staying out west.
Who knows how it would go? But based on one possible region - how could you not get excited, who wouldn't want to see something like this play out on the field?
Unfortunately Leach's dream of a 64-team College Football Playoff probably isn't going to happen. But why not double the current system to eight, or as Leach said, go 16 at minimum? It could obviously work - and bowl season would instantly get even better.
A lot of Leach's rants leave people laughing, or with puzzled looks. This one leaves me thinking - is there any way we can make this happen?
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Let me know on Twitter: @DarnayTripp.
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