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UNC Football: Players Were Opposed to 12-Team CFP Expansion

The Tar Heels in the locker room favor a six or eight team playoff.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

North Carolina Tar Heels football head coach Mack Brown held a lengthy press conference this week, discussing topics ranging from NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) being introduced to the program, expectations for the upcoming season, and what his players have been up to.

The NIL discussion was quite interesting, including the details surrounding individual player marketing and the role of agents, but that’s a topic for another time.

Brown also included a tidbit about the proposed 12-team College Football Playoff expansion: the UNC players are opposed to it.

Let’s back up for a second: as a reminder, last month, the CFP management committee proposed expanding the current four team playoff to 12 teams.

Below are the details from the CFP Committee on the proposed 12-team format:

The four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded one through four and each would receive a first-round bye, while teams seeded five through 12 would play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team. (The team ranked #5 would host #12; team #6 would meet team #11; team #7 would play team #10; and team #8 would meet #9.) Under the proposal, the quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games. The championship game would continue to be at a neutral site, as under the current format.

In his press conference, Brown shared his team’s view on this proposal:

We took it to our players and we asked them what they thought because it’s going to affect them more than anybody else. And our players were against the 12-team playoff. They were about even between a six- or eight-team playoff, and they felt like that each of the conference champions should have an automatic bid. They felt like that the Group of Five’s highest ranked team should have an automatic bid. And then the highest ranked team would take the other few spots if it was an eight-team playoff, because we always want to know what our players are thinking, because we feel like, again, it’s going to affect their life more than anybody else.

According to a report by ESPN, senior linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel said “nobody on the team raised their hand in favor of a 12-team playoff.” He said the team was split between expanding to six or eight teams. The major concern raised by Gemmel was the number of games to reach the national championship. A team’s schedule could expand by another four or five games — More grind on a player’s body, more chances for injury, and even more strain on the student part of a student-athlete. Some teams would have 17-game seasons under that format — that’s what professionals do.

For fans, programs, and sponsors, it might feel good because there is even more football. And a 12-team playoff would be another step towards to the ever-elusive goal of crowning a true college football champion, for those who think the current system doesn’t give deserving teams a chance. Thinking about UNC, what if last season had included a 12-team playoff? Would the Heels have made it? Would it have mattered?

It’s ultimately a pointless exercise, but this is a reminder about the physical toll of football, and of the limits of players wanting to play, which was so often misinterpreted last year. But what do you, THB readers, think? Is any expansion pointless? Are UNC players right that 12 is too many? Or are you looking forward to a 12-game postseason? Let us know in this poll and in the comments section:

Poll

How Many Teams Should be in the College Football Playoff?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    4
    (9 votes)
  • 10%
    6
    (10 votes)
  • 61%
    8
    (58 votes)
  • 13%
    12
    (13 votes)
  • 5%
    16
    (5 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now