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During his five stops as president of four different universities — he’s on his second tenure at West Virginia — Gordon Gee has always been good for some classic, head-scratching sound bites.
When he was at Ohio State, for example, he was asked if he would fire then football coach Jim Tressel following a scandal. Gee responded, “I’m just hoping that the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”
Another time he compared TCU football to the Little Sisters of the Poor, only to later, after the Horned Frogs won the Rose Bowl, perform some volunteer work with the Little Sisters and claim he was going to order crow for dinner.
Basically, he's a smart guy who says a lot of dumb, and occasionally entertaining, things.
This brings us to Gee telling the WVU student newspaper that he is suddenly staunchly opposed to proceeding with the proposed 12-team College Football Playoff because Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
“I was a strong advocate for the 12-team Playoff,” Gee said. “I am now no longer because I think with this changing environment, we want to keep it very narrow and keep it so there is a lot of opportunity to reconfigure what we’re doing in athletics.”
Again, this is Gordon Gee. But … what?
The Big 12 shouldn’t be trying to oppose, delay or keep anything about the 12-team Playoff plan “narrow.” It should be running to get the deal done, pushing and prodding for binding ratification as soon as possible. Opposition is about the dumbest thing the conference could ever do.
As discussed on this episode of the College Football Enquirer podcast, the single most important lifeline to relevancy for the remaining eight Big 12 members — that includes WVU — is access to the Playoff. The current plan calls for the top six conference champions every year to receive an automatic bid. That should, almost every year, include the Big 12 champion (even with OU and UT gone).
That chance to play for a national title will allow the Big 12 to remain viable to recruits and still proportionately attractive to television partners. No, it won’t solve the loss in prestige and revenue of seeing the Sooners and Longhorns leave. But the Big 12 without a regular chance at an automatic bid relegates the entire league to second-tier status. It would be just another AAC or Mountain West, trying to muddle through, almost always on the outside looking in.
It would be a nail in the league’s coffin.
It’s unlikely Gee, 77, thought this through before he spoke. Maybe he’s trying to hold the Playoff up as ransom or something. If so, it won’t work.
It would actually serve the SEC, Big Ten and others to drop the number of automatic bids from six to five or even four. That would effectively box out the competition and open more at-large spots that would, overwhelmingly, go to their schools.
That would make everything worse for the Big 12, which is why it should be running to sign the six automatic bids plan.
Instead, there was President Gee, running off at the mouth again. Smart guy. Sometimes a funny guy. But also a guy who too often has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to college football.
Also on this podcast edition:
Scott Frost and Nebraska look terrible. Is a coaching change coming? Would it matter?
Can Bret Beileima actually make Illinois a winner?
UCLA crushed Hawaii, but LSU is looming.
Should the Big 12 expand?
Race for the Case: Ohio State-Minnesota; Boise State-UCF.