DALLAS — As the coach of the team which was ranked one place below the qualifying line for the four-team College Football Playoff, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer might be expected by many people to be leading the charge for an eight-team playoff.
But he’s not. He is not convinced that would be a good idea.
“I think the thing to always keep in mind is there’s really one group who really counts, and that’s the players. You start extending this thing, and you start to talk about adding one more game, and it’s not just another game. It’s two sledgehammers going at each other,” Meyer said on Thursday at a Cotton Bowl press conference.
“So, I don’t know. I don’t see where that calendar would work. We’re on the outside looking in twice. We’re in the playoff twice, and twice we’re right on the edge of not being in it. And I think if they extended the playoff — but I don’t see it happening.
“I don’t know. I don’t see it. I think it (college football) is very strong right now. And a lot of televised sports are kind of going down in certain areas. College football is just hitting on all cylinders right now, so I don’t know how much I’d change,” he said.
OSU defensive end Jalyn Holmes is not a fan of adding more games to the schedule, either.
“I remember being in class once, and we had like a speech where this dude was saying he was wishing there were more 8 o’clock games. All that stuff, people never think about the people who are in them. If we expand the playoffs or have more prime time games, we give up a lot for that,” Holmes said on Wednesday.
“If you expand the playoffs, that means we have to get ready for a playoff game during exams week and travel more and be away from my family more. I’m from Virginia, I’m not even from Ohio.
Referring to Ohio State arriving for the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 23, he said, “Everybody sees Dec. 29, but they don’t see Dec. 25, watching people open gifts on Facetime. Wow,” he said.
RECRUITING CHANGES: It was a December like no other for Urban Meyer, and he won’t know exactly what kind of grade to give it until the middle of January.
This year was the first time high school football players could sign national letters of intent in December. Previously, the first time they could finalize their commitment to a college was the first week of February.
A possible complication for programs such as Ohio State, which have players leave for the NFL after three seasons every year, is that the deadline to declare for the NFL draft is Jan. 15.
So a team’s needs might change after the early signing date, which was Dec. 20 this year, especially if it nearly filled its class early, as Ohio State did when it signed 21 players. Meyer anticipates signing maybe two more athletes and says the focus now probably will shift to high school juniors.
“I never worked like that in December. Normally you’re recruiting getting things ready for January. You have a couple official visits, and you move on. It was every night in that plane somewhere, and you’re trying to squeeze in those official visits,” Meyer said on Thursday.
“We did very good. I’m very pleased with who we got for the majority. Other than a couple, we’re exactly where we needed to be. At first I was very much opposed to it. I think it remains to be seen. I think we did very well. So we’ll see what happens down the road.”
Ohio State had a total of 15 underclassmen declare for the NFL draft the last two seasons – six last year and nine in 2015. It could have anywhere from three or four to six or seven make that same decision this season.
TENTH ASSISTANT: Major college football programs will be allowed to hire a 10th on-field assistant coach next season, and there have been rumors that Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will become that additional coach for Ohio State.
Meyer did not mention Grinch’s name but said, “There’s nothing been finalized. Like most college coaches, we’re trying to figure out how this is going to work. And I just want to do right by Ohio State. I’ve got some ideas, but there’s nothing been finalized. And we’ll certainly wait until after the bowl game.
2018 QUARTERBACK BATTLE: Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and redshirt freshman Tate Martell will compete for the starting quarterback job in the spring, and Meyer says he is “excited to watch them go.”
“I really respect all three players, and that’s the kind of depth you need. We saw what happened several years ago when some third-string quarterback (Cardale Jones) jumped in there and did pretty good for those final three games.
“They all have somewhat different skill sets, which is a little bit of a challenge for us. But it’s also fun to go coach these guys. They’ve been outstanding the last few weeks because we’ve been giving them lots of reps (practice repetitions). I usually keep the young guys afterwards,” Meyer said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.