A four-team playoff is coming to college football whether Urban Meyer likes it or not.
And Meyer is letting on publicly that he likes it. Or not.
Asked by a reporter Thursday at his hometown youth football camp what he thought of the four-team playoff system that was made official last week for the 2014 season, Meyer said it was “great. I thought the old system was great, too. I don’t know enough about (the new system).”
Meyer gave a similar answer in May when the subject was broached during his spring wrapup press conference. He basically said that he liked the system the way it was — he has two shiny rings from Florida to show how much he likes it — but that he was open to whatever change might be coming.
His concern then, which makes perfect sense, is the quick turnaround that will come from winning a semifinal and then preparing for a national championship game. There will be barely any time to exhale before full-speed preparations begin for the national championship game — and that doesn’t include the logistics of getting a team back to campus and out again, not to mention parents being able to travel on a short-notice schedule.
He brought that up again Thursday.
“I just wonder about the student-athletes and the coaches,” he said. “I’m trying to visualize what it will be like if you go play the Rose Bowl, you (win), and then it’s, ‘OK, not so fast, you have one more game.’ That’s going to be different but I think it’s great for college football.
“Obviously the fans want it, but I’m not so much worried about the fans as I am the players and coaches.”
With Ohio State switching from the quarter system to semesters, missing classes wouldn’t be an issue in early January. But keeping a team healthy and focused from the first practice in early August through as many as 14 games before a national title game — on any kind of notice — will be a tall task.
Especially in Ohio State’s case, winning a national championship under the new system would require a heck of a run. In most circumstances, the Buckeyes would have to beat Michigan on Thanksgiving Weekend, win the Big Ten championship game the following weekend, win a national semifinal at a neutral site (the Rose Bowl, in most cases) on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1, then travel again to play in a national championship game.
Meyer knows that. And his answer to further playoff questioning reflected his desire to cross that bridge if his team can get to it.
“I was 50-50,” Meyer said when asked how he would have voted on the new system. “I didn’t study it. I have other things to worry about.”