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Plurality of Power Five coaches want exclusive Power Five schedules

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Alabama's Nick Saban is in favor of Power Five schools only playing one another
Alabama's Nick Saban is in favor of Power Five schools only playing one another. (USATSI)

With the establishment of the College Football Playoff the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) seemingly separated themselves from the rest of the pack even further than they already had been. Those same conferences are now seeking autonomy over themselves, and you have to wonder if college football will ever reach a point in which schools from the five major conferences only play other schools from the same conferences.

My guess is that we're a long way from seeing that happen, if it ever happens, but according to a recent poll by ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy, a plurality of the coaches in the five power conferences are for the idea.

McMurphy polled all 65 coaches from the schools (as well as Notre Dame) and 30 of the coaches (46%) favored an exclusively Power Five schedule. That's compared to 23 coaches (35%) who were opposed to the idea and 12 coaches (18.5%) that were undecided.

Not surprisingly given his comments in the past, Alabama's Nick Saban was in favor of the idea. In fact, seven of the 14 coaches in the SEC were for the idea (Saban, Will Muschamp, Mark Stoops, Les Miles, Dan Mullen, Hugh Freeze and Butch Jones) while only five were against and two (Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin) were undecided.

The conference that is most in favor of the idea seems to be the Big 12, as six of the league's ten coaches (that's 60% for you math wizards) were for the idea, and 40% were against with no undecided votes. Outside of pure math, though, you could argue that it's the Pac-12 who supports the idea the most. Seven of the 12 coaches in the Pac-12 voted in favor, while only Arizona's Rich Rodriguez voted against it. Sonny Dykes, Mike MacIntyre, Kyle Whittingham and Mike Leach were all undecided.

The results are interesting to look at, as are some of the choices the coaches made (considering Baylor's non-conference schedules I was surprised to see Art Briles is in favor of the idea) and the reasons the coaches voted the way they did.

Guys like Saban are in favor of the idea because he says that it would be more interesting to the fans, while Rich Rodriguez points out that there are some teams in the other conferences that are better than some in the major conferences.

Then there was Kansas State's Bill Snyder who brought up the point that with the exclusive schedule schools wouldn't be able to schedule seven home games a season, and those seven (or eight) home games a year are important to the economies of the college towns those games are being played in.

As I said earlier, if this scheduling plan were ever going to be enforced, it wouldn't be happening for a long time, and I have to believe the odds of it happening aren't very good. Of course, you could have said the very same things about college football adopting a playoff 15 years ago as well.

You never know.

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