Meyer Coming Around on 4-Team Playoff?
By Brandon Castel
There was a lot of excitement around the country when college football announced it was officially moving to a four-team playoff in 2014. Just not in the Meyer household.
Photo by Dan Harker
It’s not that Ohio State’s first-year head coach hates the idea of a playoff—for the record, he doesn’t—but he also wasn’t picketing the White House in order to see the current system overhauled this off-season.
“I’m excited about it,” he said Thursday on his teleconference for the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.
“I kind of liked the old (system) the way it was. But the more I hear about the way it’s going to work in the bowl system, (the more I like).”
Meyer came to the teleconference prepared to talk about a playoff because, well, he knew that’s what people would be asking about. The 47-year-old claims he hasn’t given it much thought since a four-team playoff was agreed upon last month.
He still doesn’t completely understand how it’s going to work, but realizes he has a couple years to figure it out.
“My biggest concern is I still don’t know the logistics of it for the players or coaches,” Meyer added.
“If we play in the Rose Bowl or the Sugar, Fiesta or Orange, all of a sudden the games over and we have one more. How much time is there to prepare and how much class are they going to miss?”
Selfishly, Meyer is also worried about his coaching staff—not to mention himself. He already asks his assistants to work an inordinate amount of hours as they try to keep pace with the 365-day-a-year grind that is college football recruiting.
With Aug. 3 and the start of fall camp right around the corner, Meyer was supposed to be on his break this month. He spent Thursday morning at a free football clinic for 225 area children near his hometown of Ashtabula.
Meyer already puts a lot of pressure on himself, and his coaches, to balance the rigors of a college football regular season with the increasingly important recruiting aspect of the job.
He knows what’s at stake, just as he did eight years ago when he was in his second season as the head coach at the University of Utah. Meyer’s team was a perfect 11-0 during the regular season, with five wins on the road and nine wins by 20 points or more.
That included five wins by 30 or more, including a 52-21 shellacking of archrival BYU in the regular-season finale. Because a non-BCS conference team had never been the national title game, the Utes ended up playing Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl while USC slaughtered Oklahoma, 55-19, in the BCS title game (a victory that has since been vacated).
Led by future No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, Utah dominated Pitt, 35-7, in a game that was never even that close. Smith completed 29-of-37 passes—four of them for touchdowns—for 328 yards and the Utes sacked Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko nine times.
Utah outgained the Panthers 139-17 on the ground, and proved to be one of the truly elite teams in the country that season. They finished No. 4 in the final Associated Press Poll, behind USC, Oklahoma and undefeated Auburn, who also had a claim to be in that title game.
Looking back, however, there is no guarantee Meyer’s Utah team would have been selected for a four-team playoff over one-loss Texas or one-loss Louisville.
“I’m anxious to see how it all finishes up,” Meyer said Thursday.
“But I’m excited for college football. It’s great. The fans wanted it, and we got it.”
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