Miss. State's Mike Leach on 12-Team CFP Playoff: 'I Personally Would Like to See 64'

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 21, 2021

Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AP Photo/Butch Dill

Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach thinks a 12-team College Football Playoff is a good start. What would really get him fired up, however, is a playoff field that rivals the NCAA basketball tournament. 

Speaking at SEC media days Wednesday, Leach told reporters college football should go bigger.

"I think 12 teams is a huge step in the right direction," Leach said. "I personally would like to see 64, and you could map it out pretty easily."

It's an opinion not shared by many of Leach's contemporaries across college football. In fact, many of them believe opening up the CFP to 12 teams—up from the original four—is already going too far. 

"Our team isn't for it," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. "They don't want to play more games. And to be honest with you, I don't know if there's 12 teams good enough. So you're going to play more games just to play more games. And I think the more you expand it, the less important the season becomes and the more you become the NFL, as far as all right, you're in the playoffs? Well, you know, why play Trevor [Lawrence] in this game if you're already in? All of a sudden you're not in the top 12 and kids just aren't playing."

Much to Swinney's chagrin, the College Football Playoff approved a feasibility study of a 12-team playoff field last month. The CFP board chairman who helped enact that step is none other than one of Leach's bosses at Mississippi State, school president Mark Keenum.

"Having given the management committee the charge to look into expansion, it is our duty to take their good work and ascertain whether it is feasible based on the feedback we receive," Keenum said in announcing the move. "I caution observers of our process not to rush to conclusions about what this board may decide. The working group has presented us a thorough and thoughtful proposal. There is more work to do, more listening to do and more information needed before we can make a decision. We look forward to hearing more and learning more in time for our next meeting in September."

That study likely won't include a sit-down with Leach to hear the coach's thoughts on expansion, but he's more than ready to provide them at a moment's notice.