OSU's Day is all for playoff expansion

Joey Kaufman
OSU coach Ryan Day said he thinks Power Five conference champions "should get into some sort of playoff." [Karl Kuntz/Dispatch]

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Tuesday that he favors expanding the College Football Playoff beyond four teams, but he stopped short of offering specifics.

“I do believe if you win your conference, you should get into some sort of playoff,” Day said.

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The past two seasons, the Buckeyes won the Big Ten but did not make the four-team playoff after losses during the regular season. They lost once last season and twice in 2017, the first season with Day on the coaching staff as offensive co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Day clarified his stance after the release of an ESPN survey that included responses from 62 of the 65 coaches at Power Five conference schools and Notre Dame. Thirty of the coaches, including Day, said they were in favor of expansion to eight or more teams, while 23 were opposed. Expansion was a popular position among Big Ten coaches, with nine offering support.

Penn State won the Big Ten in 2016, and also was left out of the playoff, though the Buckeyes did give the conference a representative that year.

Beyond stumping for conference champions, Day did not say if there was an ideal number of teams for the playoff, deferring additional thoughts on the topic until the offseason.

“I don't think now is the time to really get into all of that,” he said.

ESPN’s survey was conducted before the season.

Ex-Maryland man

Special teams coordinator Matt Barnes could offer Ohio State a useful perspective as it prepares to face Maryland on Saturday.

Barnes was an assistant for the Terrapins for the previous three seasons, where he held the same role and also served as linebackers coach last season.

Day said Barnes' experience would help the Buckeyes “a little bit, but not all that much.” The limitations are largely due to staff turnover, which brought different offensive and defensive schemes.

“It's a very whole new crew over there,” Day said. “A lot of the personnel has changed, too.”

Mike Locksley is in his first season as Maryland coach. Matt Canada was the interim coach last season after the firing of D.J. Durkin.

Backup QB time

Quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich said it was “very important” for the Buckeyes’ backup quarterbacks, Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak, to see playing time in relief of starter Justin Fields.

“Obviously you want the game in hand,” Yurcich said, “but you have to be able to develop your guys, be able to get a lead and be able to get them significant snaps. It’s really important for their development — live game snaps.”

The next two games are likely opportunities, as the Buckeyes are heavy favorites against Maryland and Rutgers. The Terrapins have beaten only one Big Team team — Rutgers — and the Scarlet Knights are winless in conference play. Ohio State has won all eight of its games by at least 24 points, often putting in reserves for the fourth quarter.

Chugunov has completed 7 of 16 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Hoak has attempted only three passes, completing all of them for 74 yards and a touchdown. Most of Hoak’s passing yards came on a 61-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Jameson Williams against Miami University in September. Williams caught a short pass, then ran most of the way into the end zone.


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