Ya know that Nick Saban idea about the Power Five schools playing other Power Five schools only? Well, Saban isn't the only one who'd be comfortable with such a paradigm-busting move.
According to a poll of the 65 Power Five head coaches by ESPN.com and writer Brett McMurphy, a relative majority of those who responded actually preferred an all-behemoth plan. The voting broke down this way among those coaches from the ACC (and Notre Dame), Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC: 30 coaches (46%) "favored playing exclusively Power Five opponents," 23 coaches (35%) were against the idea, and 12 coaches (18.5 percent) were "undecided."
The three leagues that had more yeas than nays -- The Big 12, the Pac-12 and your very own Southeastern Conference. The voting in the SEC finished 7-5-2. In favor of a Power Five-only setting were Hugh Freeze, Butch Jones, Les Miles, Dan Mullen, Will Muschamp, Saban and Mark Stoops. Opposed were Bret Bielema, Derek Mason, Gary Pinkel, Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier. Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin were undecided.
This isn't good news for the non-Power Fivers. The poll results show that most coaches are already in favor of a full-scale breakaway. Give the topic a few more years of discussion and it's likely more would come around to that way of thinking. More importantly, a total split would allow the 65 Power Five schools to keep every last cent of their College Football Playoff revenue and greed is one hell of a motivator.
To make such a shift more palatable to the coaches, ESPN's poll did throw in one caveat -- six wins would no longer be mandatory for bowl eligibility. That explains in large part why several coaches at traditional ne'er-do-well schools were OK with nixing their ability to schedule patsies.
The biggest adjustment to a Power Five-only plan would probably fall upon college football fans, if such a plan ever became a reality. If Alabama, for example, had to play 12 major schools instead of nine (typically), the Crimson Tide probably wouldn't win 11 or 12 games per season with such metronomic consistency. Expectations in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere would need to be lowered a bit. Anyone think that would occur with ease?
At MrSEC.com, we believe such a plan will only become a serious possibility if today's autonomy vote and the remaining steps in the NCAA process turn against the Power Five conferences... or if the Power Five schools finally decide that they need to keep all the cash produced by the College Football Playoff. The latter seems more likely than the former.
Regardless of whether or not a Power Five-only world is created, it's interesting to learn that so many coaches are already in favor of just such a system.
(SIDENOTE -- It's been pointed out to us that we didn't point out to you that coaches won't be the ones making this decision. We thought any regular readers of this site and well-versed college sports fans would know that the presidents will actually be the ones to make such a change... should such a change ever come. That said, input from coaches will play a large part in the presidents' decision-making. So our view that any more toward a Power Five -- even a poll of football coaches -- is bad new for the non-Power Fivers.)