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College Football Playoff makes clear they aren’t expanding

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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For those who have been clamoring including loudly recently for the College Football Playoff to expand beyond its current for teams, a simple blunt message was delivered Monday afternoon…

Forget it.

The CFP Board of Managers, led by Mississippi State president Mark Keenum, made the announcement in the build-up to Monday night’s Alabama-Clemson championship match-up in Santa Clara, California.

From the statement released, Keenum acknowledges that there has been the usual outcry, especially from conferences like this year with the Big Ten and the Pac-12 that were completely left out of the four team playoff. He made the board’s feeling clear:

It is our unanimous agreement that the Playoff has been a tremendous success for students, fans, and universities. We are very proud of it. Fans love to watch it and we look forward to its continued success.
When it comes to the Playoff, as part of our normal review, we always look at everything and we will do so again. 
Our job as university presidents is to listen to a variety of views, as we do every day back on campus, and every year when we consider how best to run the CFP. Academics, student-athlete well-being, existing contractual agreements and the overall good of the game are just a few of the issues we consider. At all times, we want our students who play sports to be successful in college and in life.
As far as expanding the number of teams in the Playoff, it’s way too soon – much too soon – to know if that is even a possibility. It’s fair to say the speculation about expansion has outdistanced the reality of what the commissioners and the presidents have discussed. If a decision were to be made down the road, the Presidents would be the ones to make it and we are not there.
Like we wrote, forget it.

And, if you understand anything about the dynamic of how college football has settled on its champion for decades, they have always relied on debate fueling interest, TV ratings and most of all… money.

The debate has raged over the last couple of seasons, as the Pac-12 and the Big Ten were left out of the playoff final four teams to decide the championship for two years in a row.

It’s further been questioned, as Alabama and Clemson have repeatedly been involved and will be playing in the championship game for the third time in four years, when they tee it up at Levi’s Stadium.

That board also consists of presidents from Penn State Texas, Notre Dame, Washington State and even, FSU President John Thrasher among others.

Meanwhile, the 13 person selection committee that determined the four teams this year has Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens, as its head and also, has Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, as one of the voting members.

The College Football Playoff’s original agreement with the conferences, the schools and ESPN lasts until 2026.

And the tone of Monday statement is pretty clear, the powers that run the playoff are more than pleased with the amount of arguing and screaming that four teams, and four teams only, in their playoff brings.

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CFB

Ole Miss hires Lane Kiffin after FAU title game win

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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It didn’t take long after FAU’s rout of UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game for the “Lane Train” to depart Boca Raton for Mississippi.

Shortly after the post game festivities were done on the field at FAU Stadium, Ole Miss made official what had been reported Friday night that Kiffin is their new head coach:

First, Kiffin’s Owls had little to no trouble with UAB, as they broke out to a 35 – 6 halftime lead and never looked back. Sophomore quarterback Chris Robison threw three touchdown passes and FAU also blocked a punt, scooped it up and ran it in for another touchdown, as they built the large halftime advantage.

UAB did not muster a hundred yards of offense until the fourth quarter of the game and by then, the issue was settled. It’s the Owls second Conference USA title win in three seasons under Kiffin.

In the Ole Miss statement. athletic director Keith Carter, had this to say about his hire:

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” Carter said. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”

Kiffin returns to the SEC, where he was formerly the offensive coordinator from 2014 – 16 at Alabama under Nick Saban. He also was the University of Tennessee head coach for the 2009 season going 7 – 6. Kiffin left the Vols controversially after just one year to coach at Southern Cal from 2010 – 13. He was fired in the middle of his fourth season with the Trojans.

As we wrote Friday night, a report in Mississippi surfaced that Ole Miss officials had been in Boca Raton to meet with Kiffin on Thursday night and offered him the job. That obviously turned out to be correct.

Ole Miss is looking to rebuild quickly and an attempt to challenge Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The Rebels went just 4 – 8 this past season firing former player and assistant, Matt Luke at the end of the year.

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KIffin leads FAU in Championship Game- in final game?

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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There is only one game involving an FBS team in the State of Florida on Saturday and there’s as much drama behind the scenes as there will be on the field in Boca Raton. This for Florida Atlantic’s bid to win another Conference Championship Game.

The Owls and Coach Lane Kiffin get set to host UAB, are going for the Conference USA Championship for the second time in three years.

However, the bigger story is one that broke on Friday night that Kiffin, the former head coach at USC and Tennessee before coming to South Florida, is apparently headed back to the SEC to coach Ole Miss.

As we wrote last night, the deal is apparently all but done to bring Kiffin to Oxford, MS. That’s where he will coach in the SEC West, including against Nick Saban and Alabama. Kiffin recently the offensive coordinator at Bama from 2014 – 2016, including helping them win the College Football Playoff Title Game in January 2016.

Back to the game on the field Sunday afternoon. The Owls qualified to host the Title game last Saturday by beating Southern Miss 34 – 17. They are led by quarterback Chris Robinson and outstanding tight end, Harrison Bryant. Bryant had two touchdown catches in the first half of the game last week and is FAU’s best weapon in the air.

UAB is a great story in their own right, as they are the defending C-USA champions and qualified for the title game by upsetting North Texas last Saturday. The Blazers overcame their program being defunded by the state of Alabama’s Board of Regents in 2014. With football dormant for 2 years, coach Bill Clark resurrected it and they resumed playing with new players in 2017.

UAB , won the Conference USA title a year ago on the road at Middle Tennessee State and had the first-ever 10-win season in program history.

The Blazers look to run the football between the tackles with bruising back Spencer Brown. He’s a mid-round NFL prospect and had a hundred yards in their win over North Texas. Brown has 11- 100 yard games in his career and wants to help them grind the clock.

Again, this game does not have the impact of the SEC, Big 12 or Big 10 title games on Saturday, which are vying for the College Football Playoff. But, it still should be exciting and the post-game press conference with Kiffin about his possible new job in the SEC will be “must see,” as well.

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