Rich Eisen, noted Michigan Man, had one of the Wolverines' great adversaries from the past on his show late last week. (Maybe one of the Wolverines' great adversaries of the future, too.)
We're talking about Scott Frost, of course, who Eisen somewhat strangely refers to as "Scott Frost," full name, for much of the interview. (For example, a lead in about UCF's winless-to-undefeated two-year journey ends in "How did you do that, Scott Frost?")
It's a good interview. Frost is clearly comfortable with Eisen, making a couple of good jokes and hitting on all of the typical topics of the offseason.
That means UCF's national title claim comes up, as is mandated. "Every time I make one comment about that it gets blown up," Frost said, putting the storyline to bed quickly. But it does lead to a discussion of expanding the playoff.
Frost had an up-close look at how the current College Football Playoff works as the offensive coordinator at Oregon. The Ducks faced Florida State in the Rose Bowl as part of the first set of CFP semifinals. Frost said that entire week felt like the full bowl experience, something that might have to be sacrificed to some degree if expansion is the goal.
And Frost would be fine with that.
"I think if you go to eight [teams] you start the playoff earlier. Just speaking for myself if I knew I was in the Playoff I would gladly sacrifice a quote-unquote bowl experience in order to get the Playoff started. Maybe the semifinals can be on New Year's Day and then there's one week left that only two teams have to play in after bowl season is over.
"I think an eight-team playoff would allow you to have five conference champions and three at-large teams," Frost said. "That would include a team that was undefeated and lost late, or potentially a team like UCF last year that probably deserved to be in the mix for something like that."
To which Eisen replied: "Huzzah, Scott Frost." (Spoken like a true Michigan Man. That might become my new hashtag for 2018. Need to replace #itsprettyneat.)
I highlight the Playoff part here because UCF Athletic Director Danny White was also asked to expand on this topic as well over the weekend during a sit-down TV interview in Orlando.
"I hope [the Committee] heard our message," White said. "I hope they've paid attention. It's not really just UCF, it's our whole conference. We think that there's a Power 6 in college football. Our two wins against Memphis and our win against South Florida were not credited enough. Those teams were not ranked as high as they should've been. I think those games were harder than our game against Auburn, so I think our whole conference is underrated."
I guess if you've already annoyed Alabama, might as well try to loop Auburn in too, right? But White is speaking my language here. I've written it before, but if this whole national-championship-claim "controversy" pushes anyone new to realize that there really is no realistic path to playing for a national championship for a Group of 5 school then it will all have been worth it. It's really a question of what we want this sport to be: One in which the top prize is only open to the power brokers or one in which teams that win, no matter where they come from, get a chance to prove they belong?
And that somehow remains a divisive issue. Just ask this guy:
For what it's worth, if you combined the Sagarin ratings of the SEC and AAC, UCF would've ranked fourth, Memphis seventh and USF ninth in that 26-team super conference.
The Grab Bag
- Stanford running back Bryce Love and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor are Nos. 1 and 2 in the early Heisman odds.
- In a note I find refreshing, Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall says he wants to play the "worst Power 5 team" he can play to fulfill the ACC's nonconference scheduling requirement. The Cavaliers visit Indiana this September, a game the Hoosiers won a year ago.
- Is Texas one piece away from a 10-win season? Bill Connelly's latest preview makes the case.
- CBSSports.com lists the on-the-rise coaches in 2018. Nebraska faces two of them this season.
Today's Song of Today