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Posted on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 : 4:27 p.m.

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr wants to see college football postseason format tweaked

By Michael Rothstein

DETROIT - He’s been around the game for more than four decades and throughout the majority of his time at Michigan and before, former football coach Lloyd Carr was opposed to any sort of football playoff.

That opinion is starting to shift.

In chatting after the Mid American Conference football media days at Ford Field where he was the keynote speaker, Carr softened his stance.

“I absolutely think what we have can be improved upon because right now, we got two teams and they are voted in,” Carr said. “It’s a two-team playoff but it’s voted in. Let’s start with the idea, take the four best teams and they’ll be controversy there.”

Carr maintained he wanted to keep the bowl format but felt too often, players would be kept out of playing for the national title, not because of on-field performance, but because of computers, coaches who are voting and a bunch of things that have nothing to do with actual play on the field.


And he seemed particularly peeved about what happened a season ago, when Utah was held out of the national championship game even though they were undefeated at the expense of two one-loss teams, Florida and Oklahoma.

The Gators won the national title. Utah throttled Alabama, 31-17 to cap an undefeated season.

“We’re having too many situations where somebody gets left out,” Carr said. “You tell me Utah didn’t deserve a chance to play for the national championship? Well, they did. They should have.

“And they didn’t.”

Part of the issue of why there is such staunch opposition to a playoff lies in tradition. Carr pointed to how long it took college football to add instant replay - long an NFL staple - and an overtime system as examples of the slow turns of college football. And he added coaches would likely not want to relinquish control over who wins the national championship with their own vote.

“They are not going to give that up,” Carr said. “But I was personally very disappointed to see the Associated Press back out because I was very disappointed in that. I think, you know, I think there’s a place for both those polls to decide a championship as long as it’s only going to be two teams.”

Yet if Carr had his choice, he’d like to see more teams added. After all, he was involved in one of these situations in 2006. Had then-No. 2 Michigan beaten No. 1 Ohio State, the Wolverines would have gone to the national championship game. There had been talk of the two teams playing again in the BCS title game, but the polls and computers selected Florida to play the Buckeyes.

Of course, it mattered little as the Gators - led by quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow - won the national title. Had there been a playoff, though, who knows what would have happened.

“I was with (Big Ten) commissioner (Jim) Delany last night,” Carr said. “I have great regard for him and it does not sound like, in listening to him, it does not sound like a playoff is (going to happen).

“But, that doesn’t mean you can’t expand what we do have to four teams.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558 or at


FW Flyer

Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 9:38 a.m.

I would argue an 8 team playoff is the fairest, as it would include the champion of every major conference plus a couple wild cards. Of course this would put more pressure on coaches who didn't make the playoffs who now can tout long bowl streaks, despite many of them being fourth-tier games.


Sat, Aug 1, 2009 : 7:36 p.m.

Every football,basketball,baseball,hocket etc.. HAVE PLAYOFFS! Why dont D1 college football? And these stupid reporters that stick up for them -WHY? do they get paid extra to defend the BCS? High school and college all have playoffs, 4 teams is great. Anymore would not be good. Unless you have any more teams thats undefeated. HINT -Utah Why dont they just come out and say -Utah,Uconn,Boise St none of you will never have a shot at the BCS championship -maybe then would I respect it.


Sat, Aug 1, 2009 : 3:48 p.m.

For starters, the Big 10 should have a championship game. I know they have 11 teams, but the solution is simple - just ignore MSU's record and act as if they're not even in the league. Then there would be two 5-team divisions. Go Blue!!!


Sat, Aug 1, 2009 : 2:05 a.m.

i think the way to go right now is a plus 1 game. which is basically a 4 team playoff. once you start talking about 16 teams you are taking away the importance of the regular season which makes the games exciting. i mean does anybody reall4y think the 16th team in the country last year could beat florida or oklahoma. college football does not have anywhere near the parody of the nfl so 8 teams at the most but 16 is just way too much.

Michael Rothstein

Fri, Jul 31, 2009 : 5:38 p.m.

Tater, I'm with you on a playoff. It's always been a debate among sportswriters as well as to whether or not a playoff is good or not. Me, I'll always be for it if for no other reason than if it is good enough for Division II, Division III and Division I-AA (Football Championship Subdivision), it should be good enough for the upper echelon. But that's another subject for another day.


Fri, Jul 31, 2009 : 5:33 p.m.

Pretty soon stuff like this won't matter. Michigan and RR will march through one season after another undefeated, win their NC bowl game, and leave everyone else scrambling to figure out how to derail the Maize and Blue juggernaut.


Fri, Jul 31, 2009 : 5:14 p.m.

Pretty slick: have a playoff without actually calling it a playoff. Maybe that's how you do it. Expand it to four games. Once the genie is out of the bottle, they can go to eight or sixteen teams. They could actually do four teams this season with the same schedule. Two bowls would be the semis, and the NC game a week later would have two teams that played a week earlier instead of two months earlier.