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Posted on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan's Brady Hoke on football playoffs: 'I hope they think about the kids'

By Kyle Meinke

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke supports playoff reformation, but isn't getting too involved with the particulars as conferences hash out their preferred systems.

He is resolute about one thing, though: He does not want to see the playoff field expanded to the point where multiple rounds are required to determine a champion. One extra game is enough.

"Whatever happens, here’s the only thing I hope: I hope they think about the kids, and the families of those kids who are out there on the field, because how many games do we want to play?" Hoke said this week during a meeting with the Michigan Associated Press Sports Editors at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor.

"These are not professional athletes. They are student-athletes. They have classes."

The BCS' reign appears to be nearing an end, despite the Big Ten's wishes to maintain the status quo. BCS officials are set to meet June 13 in Chicago, and Division I commissioners follow June 19-20.


Michigan football coach Brady Hoke on the possibility of an expanded football playoff system: "I hope they think about the kids, and the families of those kids who are out there on the field, because how many games do we want to play?"

Melanie Maxwell |

The BCS presidential oversight committee wraps things up June 26 in Washington, at which point a new format could be announced. It's also possible, however, that negotiations will protract into August.

A new four-team playoff is expected to be in place for the 2014 season.

Some believe that could become the precursor for an expanded field, which already exists at the lower levels of college football.

Hoke said he summarily opposes that approach for FBS schools, though, and noted big-time college football players face challenges that do not exist at the lower levels.

"I think that’s a whole different deal," he said. "The game (at lower levels) is not near as physical as it is at this level. If it was, those guys would be playing at Michigan and USC. And their games aren’t on TV every week, so you may call it pressure or not pressure or whatever you want, and then you’re going to take the second semester, we have school, and you’re going to play all the way through?

"What are you going to do? Do you want to play eight games and then start (the playoffs), like they do in high school in the state of Indiana? Well, that’s not going to work, because when we fill up the Big House, I bet we make pretty good money."

Hoke said he's also concerned about the cost of travel, which could burden families and fans even in a four-team format. It's conceivable a Big Ten team could travel to a league title game, national semifinal and national final in the span of a month.

That's especially true if bowl sites are used for the semifinals, which the Big Ten favors.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said recently he would support providing families with a travel allowance, similar to what already is in place for the men's basketball tournament. Still, the travel is a concern for Hoke.

"They can’t afford it (in some cases)," he said. "We got guys on our team whose parents can’t afford to get up to Ann Arbor once a year."

One way to mitigate that problem would be to use campus sites as semifinal hosts, which would provide an extra home game for teams seeded in the top two.

Reeling playoff games into the Big Ten footprint seemingly would help the league's competitiveness on the field as well, after decades of traveling south and west to face SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 schools in bowl games.

Hoke would love to host playoff games at Michigan Stadium, which is not surprising. That would be an immense competitive advantage for his team.

But he also is realist, and knows he won't get his way.

"We all know it’s about money," he said. "We all know it’s about TV.

"That’s not going to happen because people, or networks, or whoever -- and I’m getting way too far into this; like I said before, I’m just a D-line coach, I coach defensive linemen -- I mean, they’re going to want to play in a controlled environment."

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


Marcus Adams

Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

"I think that's a whole different deal," he said. "The game (at lower levels) is not near as physical as it is at this level. If it was, those guys would be playing at Michigan and USC. And their games aren't on TV every week, so you may call it pressure or not pressure or whatever you want, and then you're going to take the second semester, we have school, and you're going to play all the way through?" This is utter nonsense! I guess if those guys were more physical they would be playing at LSU or Alabama or other SEC schools instead of Michigan. What's fascinating is how these "lower" division schools care about their student-athletes by having a regular season, an honest, legitimate playoff system and have an earned on the field champion by the end of the semester. What these pimps want is a higher ticket pricing formula, increased bonuses for bowl appearances and assorted revenue. The Ann Arbor News had a great series a while back on how athletes are "encouraged" to declare certain majors to keep them eligible. Student athletes are the least of their concerns. "It's all about the money!" The hypocrisy of this stinks and Hoke and Brandon should be ashamed!


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Pay the athletes! No matter what many of you think, the athlete is the least considered when decisions are being made regarding athletics especially as it pertains to Black athletes. Denard Robinson virtually saved Michigan football and assured Brady Hoke an opportunity for a long term contract in the millions, but I would be willing to bet that his parents has not been able to attend one game at Michigan while you have other students whose parents can follow them all over the country to support and watch them play. College sports, especially football and basketball which is dominated by Blacks at most major institutions is absolutely out of hand. Sure Denard will probably benefit from his experience at M but how much has he given to this school. It is absolutely amazing that only a few years ago, these same athletes would not have even been allowed on UM's campus. Please read Dr. Harry Edwards materials on this subject matter.

Scott Laux

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Great sentiment coach; in the end they'll think about the $.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

Wow....I actually don't have too much to say - Brady Hoke is right on, as usual. I can also read on into his comments that he is getting very tired of commenting on this subject ! Hopefully the outside media will cease on this talk and inquire more about our nations best college football team and coaches. We are so honored to have Hoke, Borges and Mattison - the best in the USA. @ Mort - good call, he loves you too, man ! MgoBlueForTim...great time to be a Michigan Football Faithful


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Right on Coach - I have been saying this and told I am old fashioned. The playoff thing is beign driven by $$ and someone wanting to prove to be #1 - you can never prove it. The obsession is over titles and rankings is misplaced.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

My favorite team is whoever is playing Michigan, but I've had the pleasure of meeting this guy and I like his style, he's right on with this as well, the bowl games are all about MONEY! The BCS may have gotten it right once or maybe twice since it's inception, but long drawn out CF playoff's would be detrimental to players. I say just win your division and go to a great bowl and have fun.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

"My favorite team is whoever is playing Michigan..." I love it Franky - we always run into people across the country who have been traditionally beaten down by Michigan...they always say the same thing. Success brings much hatred, look at the commenter just above


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

Too many chefs in the kitchen? You got that right...look at Hoke and Borges! Where's the threat?


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

You know as well as any sparty that MSU will fall behind UM while Hoke is in town. The talent coming in is far superior and not the coaching is in place to develop it. You and your pal Dantonio see the threat and in AA this year your fears will come to fruition. MSU will fall back into the 2nd tier of the B1G and will remain there for another decade or two. Hows that "national" recruiting going for you?

Terry Star21

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

MRunner.....sparties have only won 30.7 % of the match ups with Michigan in gotta love it, to see and read the frustration in their followers...


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

Are you just lying in the weeds?


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

I've said before that if we're going to have a playoff it should be an 8 team playoff. But at this point I don't think a playoff is possible. Too many chef's in the kitchen and they all have different ideas how best to prepare the meal.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

I have always been of the opinion that this is about the kids. There are a lot to people making large sums of money at the expense of these kids trying to get an education and entertain at the same time. I am against promoting a longer season without regard to student athletes. The drive to settle who is the real National Champion seems to be getting out of hand for football. Maybe we ought to settle for division champions only. That won't be a popular decision! Student athletes first objective to be productive citizens is to get an education. If they go on with football fine but only 2% of all those kids that play football get that chance what about the ones that don't? If a National Champion is so important for football maybe there should be more than one. There is a new novel idea!


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

Can't help but to say, very well stated. I have previously commented that a mythical champ in Div I football is fine with me and that the current BCS system seems like the best solution. All of these proposals amongst the conference reps and big college ADs cannot agree on a viable playoff system which tells me, nothing will staisfy all. The only thing is regional champs begs for additional playoff games which begs for a bigger cash cow.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

College athletics is no longer an amateur event. Pay the athletes!


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

heartbreakM has the right idea. Title 19 would state that ALL staudent athletes should then be paid. Not sure if got the Title number correct (9 or 19)...but paying these student athletes is a no go no matter what.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Apparently tuition, books, travel, clothing, food, media exposure, professional training, free medical care, counseling don't count. total package at many schools worth more than 300.000 but hey!! It's not payment. I say let these student athletes get loans like the rest of the student body, especially given that they come out of school with no loans. If they are too poor to qualify then have the school co-sign as a "benefit".

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

how much are you going to pay the second string right guard on EMU's team?


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Will college (NCAA Div 1) football become a victim of its own success? Stay tuned. One thing is clear: Coach Hoke may be "just a D-Line coach" but he knows his job and he knows all about the lives of the young men who play football for the University of Michigan. Putting the players first is the way to go: too bad that BCS and the conferences don't seem to care about them too. And we fans bear some responsibility because we are the ones demanding a "clear" national championship system.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

If all of major college coaches, the ADs and the conference commissioners thought and felt the way Coach Hoke does, there wouldn't all of this playoff talk. Perhaps a plus one. Worth mentioning that Dave Brandon expresses similar views and adds that the fan base would have more difficulty attending more than one playoff game.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Refreshing to hear a head coach say what is on his mind, rather than just the "correct" thing. I don't know that I necessarily agree with everything he said, but he has very interesting views. Biggest difference of opinion I have, though, is about the multiple round thing and the student thing. I personally believe very much that these student athletes ought to be treated as such, rather than mini pros, but nobody ever seems to care that the college basketball season is long with multiple round playoff, that teams play any day or night of the week, and travel extensively. It seems that football playes actually have the most regular schedule of any sport, though it is getting murkier with Tuesday night games, Thursday and Friday games, night games, etc. Would love to hear Hoke's comments on that.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Yes, these weeknight games are getting ridiculous. I voiced an opinion on that the other day. Too bad the TV ratings justify this, hopefully, they will drop off in time but that's a pipe dream in my case.


Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

i love this guy. he call it like it is. the brady way.