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Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

College football playoff eventually will expand beyond 4 teams, ex-Michigan coach Lloyd Carr says

By Kyle Meinke

Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr led the Wolverines to a national championship in 1997, the program's only title since 1948.

Of course, there was a catch: He had to split it with Nebraska, which was ranked No. 1 in the coaches' poll. The Wolverines were atop the Associated Press poll.

College football has reformed its postseason this summer, officially ditching the BCS in favor of a four-team playoff starting in 2014, but the change comes too late to help Carr, who retired after the 2007 season.

He says its a positive move for the game, though, and predicts the playoff field will eventually expand beyond the four-team format that is being implemented.

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Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr believes the new college football playoff will eventually expand beyond four teams, similar to how the NCAA men's basketball tournament has expanded over the years. | AP

Carr compared it to the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which has expanded from 32 to 68 teams over the years.

"I do think (with) the fans, the message is that there was a lot of discontent with the BCS, and I think purely from a football standpoint, this is going to be an exciting new era -- and I think it'll be really exciting for the fans and the players," Carr said this week in an interview with SiriusXM Sports.

"The other side of it is it'll take 15 games to win the national championship, or to be the runner-up. Going back a number of years, back into the '60s when I played, we played nine games, plus a bowl game, and there weren't that many of them.

"We're down that road now, and I think in the future there's going to continue to be pressure, just like there was in basketball, to continue to raise the number of teams. But I don't have that answer."

Carr later discussed in the interview his upcoming College Football Hall of Fame ceremonies, which take place July 21 in South Bend, Ind. Check out the full audio interview here.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Frizbane Manley

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Although I am a very big Wolverine fan, I am certainly not a Lloyd Carr fan. I not only don't like Carr's eight-team football playoff, I don't even like the 2013 four-team playoff. And I hate the BCS. Let's start with the NCAA's basketball tournament. I think everyone knows it is nothing but a hyped up extravaganza created by the NCAA to make a bundle of money for itself, a little money for the schools, and virtually nothing for the athletes (okay, they get a short showcase). And don't hand me that "student first, athlete second" nonsense ... one has to be fairly naive to believe that. So my solution: first, we want more 12- or 14-team conferences, with each conference divided into two divisions. Let each team play seven conference games and four meaningful non-conference games (no more than one of those stupid "warm-up" games). Conference division winners play for the conference championship. After that, we'll have bowl games with, as in the old days, specific bowls tied to specific conferences; e.g., the Rose Bowl has the Big Ten and PAC-12 champions, etc. But what about the national championship? Well who cares anyway? Tell me, who won the 2009 NCAA basketball championship? ... the 2005 basketball championship? ... the 2008 NCAA football champion? ... the 2005 football championship? See, you not only don't know, you don't even care. Those championships are of little consequence in the scheme of things. You might as well guess that all of the recent football champions were SEC schools. And Kentucky's 2012 basketball championship with a team of freshmen, none of whom are still in school, should tell you a lot about "student first; athlete second." Three of the advantages of my strategy are (1) it makes the conference championships much, much more important, (2) it makes the bowl games much more fun, and (3) it keeps the NCAA from ripping us all off. Oh yes, it also shows how out-of-touch Lloyd Carr is vis-à-vis the point of college football.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Your in a pretty small minority with your opinion. As to championships who won the 1937 Big 10 championship? Whats your point? I remember who won the 1969 State championship Class D 440 yard dash....


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

If you simply dissolve the NCAA into four super-conferences, all you need to do is select a champion from each conference and input them into a four team playoff. Perhaps there should be a Big10, SEC, Pac 12, and Big 12-ACC merger tournament that determines the conference champion and then a four team playoff for the national champion? I don't think that's a terrible idea.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

what'd he have to say about the book 3 and out ? Or didn't you ask again ?

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

I like the 8 team playoff, much like the BCS bowls - course, like last year Michigan would be playing every year. Guess that's all good. Michigan, the Leader and Best, is all of America's favorite college football team. Everyone is happy. MgoBlueForTiM....Michigan in the hunt every year.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

"playing every year"? Really? What reality do UM fans live in? you wouldn't of played in it last year (#12 in nation). I don't think we even need to discuss 2008 thru 2010 do we? 2006 um was #8 2004 and 2005 were mediocre years do you guys think if you say it often enough the rest of the planet will believe you? um hasn't been relevant on a national level is 64 years...well, you did get half a championship once in there. University of Michigan. Home to the "largest financial scandal in the HISTORY of college sports".


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

** Have the 8 team tournament replace the conference championships, with the higher seeded teams hosting **

Irvine CA

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

College football players are students first. They should have their priority on their studies, football is a game. Don't let the money business corrupt the kids, not too much anyway.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

if that were true, then universities wouldn't lower the academic standard for them (including UM).


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

As much as I respect the former Michigan Head Coach; I hope not.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Yes craig...but a #5 ?

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

"Have you ever known a #5 that deserved serious consideration? ' Since we are in uncharted territory for the FBS I'll step outside the FBS and offer the 6th seed 2010 Green Bay Packers and the 8th seed 2012 Los Angles Kings.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

Going beyond 4 teams is terribly wrong - there is no need or excuse for it. Have you ever known a #5 that deserved serious consideration? Even having 4 may prove to be a major error. We won't know for sure until the new format is implemented. There definitely are not 8 teams who rightfully belong in a runoff system. It is a major waste of time and money. Plus the students would be taken away from their studies for too long a period. This idea is down right evil and only benefits those who make $$$$ from it. Las Vegas makes too many wicked dollars as it is.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

** Have the 8 team tournament replace the conference championships, with the higher seeded teams hosting **


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

They don't have to add any games to the schedule if they just replace the conference games with the the extra game that comes with the 8 team tourny !


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

Eight teams is the way to go.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

I agree , but maybe expand it by 2 and offer up some byes to thetop ranked teams for the first round.