College football mailbag: Time to expand 4-team playoff yet?

Trevone Boykin
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin passes during a win over Kansas on Nov. 15.
(Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)

Each week during the college football season, national analyst Chris Dufresne will burn a timeout to answer questions and exchange opinions. You can email him at and reach him on Twitter: @DufresneLATimes.

Unbuckling the mailbag:

I am not surprised that there is already a call for an eight-team playoff. I think these people need to spend more time with their fantasy teams or their wives .… Let’s give it 10 years and see what happens.

Mark Stalzer


It’s unrealistic to think people can wait a decade for change when they can hardly wait a year now to buy a new Apple phone.

The four-team playoff only makes sense if all the leagues are playing by the same set of rules. That’s not the case now. You’ve got five leagues with five different sets of rules. The Pac-12 plays nine league games and the SEC plays eight. The Big 12 doesn’t have a title game.

The eight-team playoff would render those differences moot if you just awarded a playoff bid to the champions of the five power conferences.

My point is, do one or the other.


My guess is that college football officials will keep the four-team playoff for at least five years, unless a major controversy or greed forces expansion.


Thank you for your interesting comparison of the NFL and college football. I liked it, but think your half-jest statement about the NFL being “socialist " overlooks the fact college football doesn’t even pay its players and is more socialist in that regard than the NFL, which pays its players millions.

John Gordon

There is no question the NFL has prospered using socialist principles. It was quite a trick to get millionaires (now billionaires) to think like Lenin and Marx.

In what free market system could tiny-town Green Bay win so many Super Bowls?

Former Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s genius was to get the owners to think like Norway and chip in for the common good by equally sharing revenue.

The definitive book written on this subject remains “The League” by David Harris.


And you know the NFL doesn’t guarantee those million-dollar contracts, right?

College sports are very conflicted. All sports but major college football operate under the umbrella of the NCAA, which certainly has socialist tendencies.

The NCAA does not control college football, however — that’s why there is no NCAA championship.

College football won a lawsuit against the NCAA in the 1980s over broadcasting rights, which allowed the power conferences to negotiate their own television network contracts.

In a free market, the money flowed to the five major conferences and left everybody else weaker.

It’s true the players don’t get paid, but I used to think they got a pretty good exchange for their services in the form of a scholarship that could be worth $300,000.

That deal doesn’t look as good anymore held against the millions being raked in by the conferences, the reason the millionaire commissioners who run the sport have fought to provide additional stipends for their student athletes.



Hey genius, looking forward to your next fluff piece on Sark. Yep, us regular Joes don’t know anything about football and clearly can’t see what a great coach he is.

Jim Patton

Clueless USC Football Fan

Thanks, but aren’t you a regular Jim, not a Joe? For the record, my next “fluff” piece on USC Coach Steve Sarkisian will be from Saturday’s USC game against Notre Dame. If you’re attending the game at the Coliseum, come by and see me.

I’ll be the guy humming “Conquest” and riding a white horse.


Sarkisian has one more game to exceed Orgeron’s record against our rivals, which you cited as the main reason he should not have been retained. I really hope he pulls it off, but I am not very confident at this point. Are you?

Mark Boykin

Thanks for pointing out again that Ed Orgeron, the man many thought should replace Lane Kiffin as permanent coach, lost to UCLA and Notre Dame last year.

My hunch is that USC will defeat Notre Dame this year if only because the wheels have come off the Irish after a 6-0 start. Whatever happens won’t change my feeling about Sarkisian. A coach deserves three years to recruit his players and implement his system.

Write me again if USC loses to UCLA and Notre Dame in 2016.


Did you notice that Coach Sark wears an officially licensed hoodie that says “Southern Cal” across the front? I saw him wearing it this week at practices. What’s up with that? I thought SC hated the Southern Cal moniker?

John Barton

USC used to devote a section of its media guide stating its disdain for the use of “Southern Cal.”

Southern California is acceptable, but obviously harder to fit on a sweat shirt.


I preface my comments with these facts: I am a two-time graduate of Florida State and as biased as anybody in favor of that institution.

If Florida State loses either of its remaining games, they can kiss goodbye any hope of qualifying for the 2014 College Football Playoff. I see zero chance that a one-loss Seminole team would be selected. We’re having a hard time staying in with NO losses.

Stephen Gilliam

I admire your clear-headed assessment. Putting down the pom-poms is probably the single most difficult thing an alumnus can do.

So many Florida State fans are myopic about the Seminoles and blinded by loyalty. Too many fans think they deserve a free pass into this season’s playoff because they are the defending national champions.

News flash: This year’s Florida State team isn’t as good as last year’s team.

I think the selection committee is on board with you. It is going to reward Florida State with a playoff spot if it finishes undefeated, but one loss and the Seminoles are probably toast.


Did you see (Jameis) Winston shove the ref off the ball/center? It was unbelievable, and I was beyond shocked that nothing was done about it!

Steve Parker

A lot of people would say Winston has been pushing people out of the way since he arrived on campus.

Some people thought Winston should have been ejected for putting his hands on a referee but, shockingly, everyone at Florida State thought it was fine.

Even the Atlantic Coast Conference office gave Winston a pass, basically saying calls for discipline were out of line.

The ACC coordinator of officiating said the shove was incidental.

It was as harmless as the straight-arm Winston gave the grocery boy when he bolted the supermarket last spring holding those crab legs.


Look forward to your mailbags each week … wish you had this vehicle more than weekly because your humor and insights are brilliant. Even that Simmons guy at ESPN is second fiddle to you in the good humor department.

Bob McCarthy

This vehicle is only a one-day rental. I check it out every Friday morning but have to have it back to Hertz by 5 p.m.

I’m not familiar with this “Simmons” guy or “ESPN,” but if you can tell me where I can find that station on my TV I’ll be happy to check it out.