Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr wants to see college football postseason format tweaked
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.
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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 annarbor.com. He can be reached at (734) 623-2558 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.