Mike Gundy Calls College Football Playoff Proposals “Unheard of in Any Sport”

Oklahoma State HC Mike Gundy is one of several head coaches who have challenged the proposed 14-team College Football Playoff format.

As college football decision-makers continue to discuss potentially changing the playoff format from 2026, Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy has come out in opposition to the proposed 14-team structure.

Gundy is one of several head coaches to have spoken out about the proposals recently, expressing concerns about the unfair, competitive nature of the suggestions.

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Why Does Mike Gundy Disagree With the Proposed 14-Team Playoff Format?

Under the 12-team playoff format adopted for 2024 and 2025, the five highest-ranked conference champions will automatically qualify for the playoffs, with the teams ranked 1-4 receiving a first-round bye. The teams then ranked 5-12 by the playoff committee will then complete the College Football Playoff and will compete in a seeded format in the first round.

While 2024 will be the first year under the 12-team format, recent speculation has emerged that the College Football Playoff could expand further, to 14 teams in 2026.

ESPN reported on February 21, 2024, that a 14-team format was being discussed at a committee meeting. The reporting stated that the idea had gathered “momentum” at the meeting but that “there’s work still to be done.”

Sources told ESPN that if a 14-team format were introduced, it would mean the two SEC and Big Ten champions would receive a bye in the first round with three automatic qualification spots for Big Ten and SEC teams.

The concept has not been received well by head coaches outside the Big Ten and SEC. Several head coaches have spoken out against the move, including Oklahoma State HC Gundy.

“A playoff format that guarantees a first-round bye to any team, division, or conference before the season starts is unheard of in any sport as far as I’m aware,” Gundy said.

“Based on the premise proposed, a team could be undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country and still not receive a first-round bye because teams were awarded one before the season even began.”

Less than impressed, Gundy continued, “We need to let the teams decide it on the field and reward those who are most deserving.”

The thought of a team being ranked No. 1 in the country and not getting an automatic bye – while the winners of the SEC and Big Ten get a rest week – seems competitively unfair.

Every team should know they are on a level playing field going into a season. However, the politics of college football means that it rarely plays that way. Just ask the Florida State Seminoles, who are still reeling after missing the playoffs despite recording an undefeated, conference-title-winning season.

Ultimately, this comes down to money. The SEC and Big Ten both believe they deserve a bigger slice of the revenue share as the conferences that generate the most income.

KEEP READING: Projecting the 2024-2025 College Football Playoff

The influence of college football’s top two conferences is palpable, with a source revealing to ESPN that “the balance in the room is how to recognize contributions of the Big Ten and SEC while also being fair and collaborative to the collective room.”

Furthermore, this decision can only be made by the CFP board in conjunction with conference commissioners. While Gundy and other prominent head coaches don’t have the power to make decisions, their words can influence them.

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