Jim Harbaugh wants 16-team playoff, says UM QB play will be better

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Chicago — While some believe Michigan has the talent to reach the College Football Playoffs, reaching the final four has eluded the Wolverines through coach Jim Harbaugh’s first three seasons.

Whether that changes in 2018 remains to be seen, but it won’t be simple in the Big Ten East, arguably the toughest division in the nation.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at Big Ten Media Days on Monday.

Reaching the playoffs would, no doubt, be simpler if the field was larger, and that’s something Harbaugh is for. He’s said it in the past and on Monday he reiterated his position at Big Ten media days, saying he’d like to see the field eventually reach 16 teams.

“More would be more, more would be better,” Harbaugh said. “With the playoffs, you have four in right now. Let's get to eight and eventually to 16.

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“The 1-AA teams have been very successful at that model. If my math is right, right now if you played through a national championship game that would be 15 games. If there were a 16-team playoff, it'd be 16 games under the current model. You'd probably take away the league championship game, put it at 16 games and only the two teams in the national title game would play that many. Most teams would still play 13."

Harbaugh was also asked about the quarterback position where it’s assumed Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson will be the starter this fall. However, he’ll have to beat out Brandon Peters while Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton are also in the mix.

“Don't have any announcements to make today about that,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh did, though, give a bit of an update on where each of the quarterbacks stand.

“(Patterson) went through all of spring practice with our team and got great work in there, played really well,” Harbaugh said. “Brandon Peters was also improved this spring. Dylan McCaffrey probably made the most improvement of any quarterback. And on our roster Joe Milton came in and was a mid-year (enrollee), so participated in spring practices as well and did very well. I think he's got a very bright future.

"I would say overall it's better as a group than we were last year. And I feel like our starting quarterback will also be better, play better.”