College Football Playoff: A Michigan assistant’s pitch for 12 teams

'Then you've got everybody,' Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown says.
The Michigan Wolverines speak with the media during a press conference on December 27, 2018, in Atlanta. Michigan will face Florida in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl NCAA football game on December 29, 2018. [Paul Abell via Abell Images for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl ]
The Michigan Wolverines speak with the media during a press conference on December 27, 2018, in Atlanta. Michigan will face Florida in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl NCAA football game on December 29, 2018. [Paul Abell via Abell Images for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl ]
Published December 28 2018

ATLANTA — As college football's powerbrokers maybe sort of start kind of discussing the idea of possibly expanding the College Football Playoff, Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown threw out his proposal.

Twelve teams.

The top four teams earn first-round byes, then meet the winners of the four games between 5-12.

"Then you've got everybody," Brown said during the buildup to Saturday's Peach Bowl against Florida. "Then you've got all the answers to the questions, and everybody that's anybody that should be in the discussion probably is in the discussion. But that's just one man's opinion on this whole thing."

Brown shared his opinion because four Michigan starters (defensive lineman Rashan Gary, linebacker Devin Bush, running back Karan Higdon and offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty) are skipping the matchup to get ready for the NFL. Those decisions, one could argue, show how the playoff has devalued bowls — even top-tier ones against big-name opponents.

Brown said he doesn't necessarily see it that way, but he also doesn't agree with skeptics who worry too much about the additional injury risk with more games. He coached in the Division I-AA playoffs (and won it all as an assistant at UMass in 1998), and the current I-AA playoffs have 16 teams with only 63 scholarships to give (instead of 85 in I-A).

"You find a way to piece it together," Brown said. "Some of that's the survival of the fittest."

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