According to a poll conducted by ESPN, 46% of Power Five coaches favor playing Power Five-only opponents while 35% were opposed. 18.5% of coaches were undecided.
The 65 Power Five coaches were asked if they would favor all Power Five conferences playing their respective conferences schedules, then scheduling non-conference games against other Power Five teams. In this hypothetical scenario, the six-win requirement would not be mandatory to play in a bowl. Pac-12, Big 12, and SEC coaches unsurprisingly favor the Power Five-only scenario, while six ACC coaches opposed it with four undecided. Somewhat surprisingly, the decision to favor schedules that favor all Power Five opponents was almost evenly split among Big Ten coaches, six in favor and six against, with two undecided.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall is in favor of the Power Five-only movement, arguing that scheduling in the Big Ten will become more well-rounded and better display which teams are deserving of a spot in the four-team scenario. Nebraska’s Bo Pellini agrees with Edsall, claiming that the selection committee will have an easier time ranking teams since the schools will play opponents of similar strengths. He also believes that Power Five-exclusive play will lead to expansion of the playoff scenario.
Coaches are not the only ones in support of Power Five exclusive play; Alabama’s Nick Saban says that “fans want” their teams playing Power Five-exclusive opponents.
“We need to be more concerned about the people who support the programs…,” Saban said. “Those are the most important. But we never think about that.” Arizona State’s coach Todd Graham echoed Saban’s sentiments and is also in favor.
Not everybody is happy about Power Five-only play. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder was against it because of the scheduling conflicts playing P5-only opponents would create. The Wildcats have a certain quota of home games to fill because of the money those games bring to the community. If Kansas were to participate, they would be unable to schedule seven home games each season following.
Regardless of whether coaches are for or against Power Five-only play, opening up debate on the reasons for or against it is a step in ensuring that both sides are duly satisfied.