Power Five coaches polled on games


Many of the Power Five conference coaches in college football told ESPN that they favor a schedule consisting of only Power Five opponents.

Of the 65 Power Five coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Notre Dame, 46 percent (30 coaches) favored playing exclusively Power Five opponents while 35 percent (23 coaches) were opposed. About 18.5 percent (12 coaches) were undecided.

The coaches, who were in Bristol, Connecticut, last month, were asked whether they would favor all Power Five conferences playing their respective conference schedules and then scheduling all nonconference games against other Power Five teams. Because of the tougher schedules under this hypothetical scenario, teams would not be required to reach six wins to play in a bowl.

The Pac-12, Big 12 and SEC coaches favored playing all Power Five opponents, while the ACC coaches were against it by a 6-4 margin with four coaches undecided. Big Ten coaches were divided: Six each were for and against it, with two undecided.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said "fans want" Power Five teams playing exclusively Power Five opponents.

"We need to be more concerned about the people who support the programs and the university and come and see the games," Saban said. "Those are the most important. But we never think about that."

Coaches from the Pac-12, whose schools already play nine league games, were the biggest proponents of a Power Five-exclusive schedule: seven in favor, one against and four undecided.

The Pac-12 coaches, such as Stanford's David Shaw, prefer the Power Five-only schedule model because they want each conference to play the same type of schedule. The Pac-12 is the only league that plays nine conference games and has a league title game.

Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, the lone dissenting Pac-12 coach, said "some of those [Group of Five teams] are better than the so-called 'haves' [Power Five teams]."

The Group of Five FBS conferences are the American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt.

A couple of coaches in favor of Power Five-only opponents suggested having future nonconference opponents determined by how each team finished in its conference the previous season, similar to the NFL's scheduling model.

Arizona State's Todd Graham, who was in favor, echoed Saban's comments that fans prefer the Power Five teams playing one another.

"Fans want to see those games," Graham said. "Players want to play in them, and coaches want to coach in them."

Big 12 coaches favored it by a 6-4 margin, but Kansas State's Bill Snyder was against it. Snyder's reasoning was that the Wildcats annually need seven home games because of the amount of money brought into the Manhattan, Kansas, community. By playing only Power Five opponents, Snyder said K-State would not be able to schedule seven home games each season.

Texas' Charlie Strong also was against it because he said the Longhorns are committed to playing an annual home game against a Group of Five school from Texas. The Longhorns have played a smaller in-state school in three of the past five seasons and open this year against North Texas.

Big Ten coaches were split on the matter.

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