5 College Football Coaches Who Will Benefit and 5 Who Suffer in Playoff Era

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2014

5 College Football Coaches Who Will Benefit and 5 Who Suffer in Playoff Era

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    Out with the old and in with the new; the College Football Playoff has finally arrived.

    But as the sport moves forward with the new method to decide its national champion, the question as to whether certain coaches will benefit or suffer as a result of the playoff begs to be answered.

    Of course there are coaches like Mark Helfrich and David Shaw of Oregon and Stanford, respectively. They'll benefit due to the fact that they'll no longer be knocked from the national title picture after only one loss.

    However, for guys like Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher, they'll now be forced to beat two teams of national title contender caliber to start a dynasty.

    With that, check out the rest of the five coaches who are going to love the new playoff and the five that will long for the BCS to make a return.

Benefit: David Shaw

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    Stanford has come oh-so-close to the BCS National Championship for years now. But so often, it's one or two blemishes on their record that kept it out of the top two and out of the national championship game.

    But now the playoff is here to resurrect Stanford's chances at earning its first national title since 1940.

    That's definitely good news for David Shaw.

    The Cardinal are definitely considered among the nation's elite schools, along with the likes of Oregon, Auburn and even Alabama and Florida State to some degree.

    But in the Pac-12, where anybody can seemingly beat anybody, Stanford has struggled to stick out from the rest of the pack.

    With the playoff, Stanford won't have to play its season like as though one loss will sink its entire season. The Cardinal can easily stake a claim as a top-four team year in and year out, and now that's all they'll need to have a shot at a national title.

Benefit: Bryan Harsin

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    One of the benefits of the College Football Playoff is that it'll now be more likely for a non-BCS automatic qualifying school to earn a shot at a national title.

    That makes Bryan Harsin, the new coach of the Boise State Broncos, ecstatic.

    Boise State is routinely considered among the best non-BCS AQ schools, albeit it had a rough 2013 season. Who can forget the Broncos' Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma?

    Well, should Harsin get the Broncos back on track and deliver an undefeated season, which is certainly possible in a weak Mountain West, Boise State could invariably end up in the new playoff.

    The new playoff certainly gives schools like Boise State more opportunity to compete for the nation's top honor, and the Broncos are up there with the best non-BCS schools out there and should be ripe to take advantage of the new system.


Benefit: Mark Helfrich

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    Much like Stanford, the Oregon Ducks have so often come up just short on earning a bid to the national championship.

    That was particularly apparent in 2012, when Oregon's one loss to Stanford cost it a shot at the BCS championship and it was relegated to the Fiesta Bowl, where it slapped around Kansas State.

    Now, the new CFB Playoff will give Oregon a much better chance at taking its high octane offense to the national championship, as one loss likely won't doom its chances.

    Oregon still needs to take care of business in games it should win (2013's loss to Arizona can't happen). But as long as Oregon dominates the Pac-12, a one-loss Ducks team should earn a bid to the playoffs.

Benefit: Art Briles

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    Art Briles is in the midst of one of college football's greatest turnarounds at Baylor. He just got the Bears a Big 12 title, the program's first in history.

    Furthermore, Briles didn't bolt Waco for that job opening in Austin; the future is bright for the Bears, who open up a new stadium this season.

    With Baylor on the rise, the doors for Briles to bring a national title to Waco are more wide-open than they ever have been, especially with the new playoff system.

    Now all the Bears have to do is finish in the top four and they'll earn a shot at the national title.

    The Big 12 is considered one of the better BCS conferences, along with the SEC and Big Ten, so a conference championship should get you into the playoffs. And Baylor is certainly poised to rack up some conference titles in the coming seasons with Briles at the helm.

Benefit: Mark Dantonio

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    The way Michigan State played this season, Mark Dantonio and Co. should have been included in at least some national title discussions.

    At least the BCS is gone, and now all Sparty has to do is impress the committee that selects the four playoff teams to be able to take a shot at a title.

    It's likely that, based on their body of work this season, the Spartans would've made the CFB Playoff in 2013 had it existed. But due to a loss to Notre Dame early in the year, the BCS never gave Michigan State a chance.

    But now Dantonio and the defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions will have more of a chance at finally playing for a national title.

Suffer: Nick Saban

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    If the CFB Playoff will prevent anything, it's another dynasty.

    That has Nick Saban, as well as fans in Tuscaloosa, Ala., frustrated.

    Saban and Co. have controlled college football over recent years by dominating the SEC then surviving just one test, which they had a month to prepare for.

    Now the Crimson Tide will have to take a team that's been battered by the SEC against two elite schools to win a national championship in the new system.

    If you want proof that a difficult end to the season is bad for Alabama, 2013 is as far back as you'll need to look. Alabama finished off the year with two straight losses to Auburn and Oklahoma, the two best teams it faced all year.


Suffer: Jimbo Fisher

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    It took late-game heroics from a Heisman Trophy winner for Florida State to upend Auburn for the 2014 BCS National Championship.

    But that begs the question: Could FSU have beaten two elite teams in back-to-back weeks this past season?

    The Seminoles faced back-to-back ranked teams in 2013, with the front end of that streak being against a Maryland team that finished just 7-6.

    While Florida State did handle Clemson well, it faced a pesky yet inferior team in Duke for the ACC title. Then it had a month to prepare for Auburn.

    If the Seminoles are faced to square off against back-to-back top-four teams, that could spell trouble for Jimbo Fisher.

Suffer: Urban Meyer

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    Last season's collapse to end the year for Urban Meyer, which included a near-loss to Michigan, then back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Clemson, put a damper on the incredible 24-game win streak that Meyer started his tenure off with in Columbus, Ohio.

    Nevertheless, Ohio State was one win away from a national title berth in 2013. Had it won the  Big Ten, it would've faced FSU in the BCS championship.

    But it wasn't until conference championship week that the Buckeyes, who were undefeated in the regular season, controlled their own destiny. Week in and week out, voters placed schools like Stanford and Baylor ahead of the Buckeyes due to a perceived weak Big Ten schedule.

    Now Ohio State will be forced to win over a committee. To do that, it'll likely need to win the Big Ten and probably have no more than one loss. And that loss would have to be to a team like the Spartans.

    Otherwise, Meyer will be once again left on the outside looking in at shots for a national title.


Suffer: Dabo Swinney

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    It's hard enough for ACC teams to impress voters, so the CFB Playoff is likely to be bad for coaches like Dabo Swinney who are stuck coaching good teams in a less-than-impressive conference.

    There's almost no way the selection committee will take two teams from the ACC, so the Clemson Tigers would likely have to go undefeated and claim the conference over FSU to have a chance at the playoffs.

    That means it will be a long and hard road each season for Swinney, who has to face off against not just Florida State, but usually a marquee nonconference opponent every year.

    While it's certainly possible that Clemson could be part of the inaugural playoffs, Swinney is still dreading the system, which will likely put more punishment on the ACC than the BCS did.

Suffer: Bobby Petrino

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    While fans in Louisville are certainly happy to have Bobby Petrino back as the Cardinals head coach following Charlie Strong's departure for greener pastures in Austin, Texas, the fact of the matter is that the College Football playoff will not be kind to the Louisville Cardinals, or any team from the American Conference for that matter.

    The simple fact is that the American is perceived, justifiably so, as one of the weaker major conferences in college football. That means even if Louisville were to have just a one- or two-loss year, those two losses would likely be enough to knock the Cards out of the playoff altogether due to the weakness of the American.

    Want proof? Just look at 2013. The Cardinals finished with just one blemish on their regular season but failed to earn an at-large bid to a BCS bowl. Keep in mind, that loss was to UCF, who went on to beat Big 12 champion Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The Cardinals will likely have to go undefeated to earn a spot in the playoffs for the foreseeable future. With how tough that is to do in this day and age, it looks like Louisville will be out of luck for a while.