Last week, the college football playoffs subcommittee announced a proposal to expand 12 teams, which became the main topic of the offseason.
Soon, we will return to the hot seat coach. That kind of chatter will never go away.
Although this expansion will not affect the future of the head coach in the next few seasons, the potential ripple effect on the coaching rotation will be intriguing. Wait until the 12-team playoffs and hot topic combinations.
This will lead to some interesting questions about the definition of coaching success.
Is it a 12-team CFP trip? Can winning a playoff game save the coach’s job—similar to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament? If the 12-team playoffs start in 2014, which coaches will have different temperatures now? Will it fire fewer coaches?
These are reasonable questions when you consider past results. If the 12-team competition system starts in 2014, the following are the schools that will participate in the CFP competition multiple times:
If CFP has 12 teams since 2014…
|Pennsylvania State University||4|
|the state of Wisconsin||3|
|Louisiana State University||2|
|University of Southern California||2|
Now, this is how it will change the prospects of some projects and coaches in that time frame:
Which projects will benefit from the 12 teams?
Pennsylvania State University, Georgia and TCU stood out.
The Nittany Lions have yet to appear in the playoffs. James Franklin has experienced a tragic 4-5 season in 2020. Franklin is more unstable than usual into 2021, but it will be another matter in a 12-team setup.
Pennsylvania State University was supposed to make four public appearances in the 2016-19 season. Imagine what impact this will have on recruitment and how it will help Ohio State University to make up for its regrets-this is the only school that has achieved a CFP for the entire seven seasons. Over time, this will make the top ten events in the East more attractive than it is now.
Sounds familiar, Georgia? The Bulldogs have been able to enter the CFP in each of the past four seasons, which is better than Georgia’s performance under Kirby Smart. Georgia State recruited elite players under Smart’s leadership, but the plan continued to pursue its first national championship since 1980. Despite its success, the Bulldogs still operate in the shadow of Alabama.
Maybe in one of those seasons, the Bulldogs will be successful, but Smart’s success in Athens-even Mark Richter before him-will be appreciated by more people.
Imagine the impact of back-to-back playoff appearances in the 2014-15 season on Gary Patterson of the Big 12 TCU. These mistakes hindered the momentum of the plan. Patterson is one of the longest-serving coaches in FBS and has achieved steady success, but the Horned Frogs have a record of 18-17 in the past three seasons.
Which coaches will have cooler seats now?
Clay Helton and Jim Harbaugh have been in hot spots for the past few seasons. In any given offseason, these two coaches talk about more topics than anyone else.
Helton could have led the Trojans in the 2016-17 season with Sam Darnold (Sam Darnold) back to back to participate in the CFP competition, perhaps this will help the plan to avoid the two-year decline since the 2018-19 season. Helton rebounded with the Pac-12 Southern Championship in 2020, but USC may go further on the road to a true national championship.
Harbaugh has a 0-5 record against Ohio State University and has not been able to break into the top ten championships since he arrived in 2015. However, under this setting, Michigan will have two CFP appearances, including 2016 Buckeye’s Double Overtime Thriller on the spot. “The 2018 team is also the last real top ten contender for Harbo.
Maybe these teams will win one or two playoff games. The Ohio State problem is still looming, but this is not the only topic with Harbaugh.
Which coaches might stay in place?
Chris Peterson retired after the end of the 2019 season, but the Huskies will become a three-time playoff team out of 12 teams in the 2016-18 season. Will this attract the necessary talent for Peterson to participate in the national championship?
Will Scott Frost still be in UCF? It is worth mentioning that the Cavaliers will become a playoff team in 2017 and 2018. The addition of the five-man team may prompt more coaches to stay in place (think Tom Herman in Houston). Frost’s last three seasons in Nebraska are 12-20.
Will there be fewer coaching changes?
Frost is a good starting point for this discussion. Consider that UCF coach Josh Heupel is now in Tennessee and former Auburn coach Gus Malzhan is now in UCF.
In this format, Auburn will only enter the CFP once, and Marzahn used to be a coach who has been on the hot table every year like Harper and Helton. Maybe this will change Malzahn’s position. Maybe not.
In this offseason, FBS has 17 coaching changes. That was the first time a number below 20 appeared in the CFP era. Perhaps the 12-15 number becomes the norm in the 12-team era, because knowing that the definition of success is increasing in the playoffs.
This is a bet that this will happen, and this will be a welcome change.
Hot topics will never stop, but we look forward to seeing how these conversations change.