North Carolina players not in favor of proposed 12-team College Football Playoff, says coach Mack Brown

At a meeting with ACC athletic directors, Mack Brown had some choice words for his fellow conference colleagues from other teams. Brown said that a playoff system would be better than the current one, but some players don’t feel like they are getting a fair shake.

North Carolina football players have made it clear that they don’t like the new playoff system.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said Thursday that in discussing an expanded College Football Playoff with 12 teams, his players opposed the format and preferred six to eight teams.

During an extended interaction with reporters, Brown mentioned that ACC commissioner Jim Phillips has asked all coaches to solicit feedback from players regarding the expansion of the playoffs. Last month, the PSC board authorized commissioners to move forward with an expansion from four to 12 teams, the date of which will be determined later.

North Carolina midfielder Jeremiah Gemmell told ESPN that no one on the team has raised their hand for a 12-team playoff run. He said some players chose to stay at four, while most were split between six and eight teams.

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I think 12 teams is too many games in a season for players who want to play long-term football, Gemmell said in a phone interview. Sixteen, seventeen games a season is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially for guys who aren’t on the field during games.

The players also felt that the conference champions should get an automatic spot, alongside the Group 5 champion. In the proposed 12-team format, there are no automatic entries. In addition, Brown said some players question whether 12 teams are good enough to win a national championship.

Because they wanted the ones who were good enough to win every game or win a national championship, not just a few playoff teams, Brown said.

Interestingly, North Carolina could have benefited from the 12-team format last season. The Tar Heels finished the season 8-3 and earned a spot in the New Year’s Eve game against Texas A&M in the Capital One Orange Bowl and ranked 13th in the final CFP rankings. There is no doubt that they would have been among the contenders for the last place.

I’ve talked to some guys on the team that if we let Virginia and Florida State get away, we can’t win those games back, Gemmell said. I don’t think we deserve to make the playoffs if we lose two games like that during the season.

Last month, after the Board of Governors approved the expansion, Phillips said the league would like to involve student-athletes in discussions about what is best for the postseason in college football.

Mr. Brown regretted that the discussion of the expansion and the resulting decision were made so quickly, without input from all interested parties. The PSC Management Committee is currently conducting a summer analysis with Bowling Green and ESPN to determine the feasibility of a 12-team schedule. The next board meeting is scheduled for September.

I said I think we need more involvement from the athletes who play and the coaches who train them, and that voice needs to be heard, Brown said. No decision has been made yet, but I think it is important for our commissioner to get feedback from our players. We’re just trying to make sure that everyone understands what everyone is thinking when we make that big jump from four to 12 instead of just doing it.

Gemmell added that although expanding the playoffs would open the field to more teams, he and his teammates have one goal in mind: Win every game and become ACC champions.

It gives us more chances to make the playoffs, but that’s not really our goal right now, Gemmell said. We are trying to win every football game and win the ACC championship. So we want to finish in the top four, regardless of who wins the College Football Playoff. We thought that between 12th, 6th and 8th we might miss a game here or there, but everyone on the team believes that we are going to win every game and win the ACC championship. Why worry about making the playoffs if we finish 12th? We don’t think about it. We intend to be the number one team in the country. That’s good.

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