The Weekender: Possible NCAA Tournament Expansion, Michigan OC Kirk Campbell Calls Wolverines' 2024 Offense "Explosive" and Pat McAfee Wants to Keep Walk-Ons in College Football

By 11W Staff on June 23, 2024 at 2:40 pm
NCAA Tournament court
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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NCAA Tournament to Potentially Expand to 72 or 76 Teams

The men's tournament expanded from 65 to 68 teams in 2011; the women's tournament expanded from 64 to 68 teams in 2022.

Now, the NCAA Tournament could add more teams and expand from 68 to 72 or 76 teams, according to ESPN.

"It is appropriate to look at expansion, and we need to do that," ACC commissioner James Phillips said Thursday during the Associated Press Sports Editors summer conference. "We're looking at it. When do you get to the point when the regular season doesn't matter?" Phillips said. "Modest expansion is something I would prefer."

With the NCAA in the middle of an eight-year extension of its TV deal that's worth $8.8 billion for the NCAA Tournament that runs through 2032, more games would provide additional revenue, both in terms of merchandise and tickets.

The earliest the NCAA Tournament could expand is the 2025-26 season.

Michigan First-Year Offensive Coordinator Kirk Campbell Calls the Wolverines' 2024 Offense "Explosive"

We all know what happened last season and don't need to rehash that. In fact, for Ohio State fans, we don't need to explain what has taken place in late November the last three years.

That said, Michigan has lost a lot of talent, both on the field and on the sidelines heading into the 2024 season. The Wolverines return just one offensive starter, tight end Colston Loveland, while also bringing back running back Donovan Edwards. Even with that, Michigan's first-year offensive coordinator believes the Wolverines' offense will be just fine this fall.

"The blue-collar, physical offense, that's not going to change, that's going to be our identity, but the players are explosive," Campbell told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. "Any time those guys touch the football, that's what their traits do. My job as a coordinator is to get them the football because they'll take care of that explosiveness. They're playmakers."

Edwards agreed.

"What [Campbell] said is pretty spot-on: This is an explosive offense," said Edwards, who had two long touchdown runs in Michigan's 2022 win over Ohio State and added two scoring runs of more than 40 yards against Washington in the national championship game. "Regardless if people think our offense is predominantly run-heavy, we have explosive guys all over the field."

Pat McAfee Blasts the Potential Elimination of Walk-ons in College Football

Walk-ons give us some of the best stories (and even moments) in college football. They're so easy to root for and are a huge part of every program, even if the majority of contributions are behind the scenes for most walk-ons.

With revenue sharing becoming a thing in college football, one of the potential side effects of the new revenue-sharing model that would essentially put players under contract is the fact that it could eliminate walk-ons, an idea that many fans, coaches, and players have disliked immensely.

Pat McAfee disagrees with the potential move to eliminate walk-ons as well.

“The fact that there’s a thought that we need to eliminate walk-ons from big-time college football is so stupid,” McAfee said. “And it also makes me believe that a lot of the people making these decisions don’t know ball. And if we know people that don't know ball making decisions in this transition era of college football, we need to figure that out, we need to cut that out and we need to preserve this sport and make this sport the best it could possibly be while transitioning with people that really know what's going on.

"Walk-ons also are a massive piece of the chemistry and culture in the locker room. Walk-ons, whenever they make it and get on a scholarship are enjoyable moments for the entire team. Life lessons for the entire team. Walk-ons can inevitably be why your team wins or your team loses."


Outgoing Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith Says Financial Literacy Crucial for Athletes in NIL, Revenue Sharing Era

With NIL producing ample profit for athletes and revenue sharing on the way, Gene Smith says there's a stronger emphasis on financial management in Ohio State's athletic department.

Ross Bjork Says Ohio State Will Pay Athletes Maximum Allowed After NCAA Settlement, Expects School to Follow Title IX Legislation With Payments

Incoming AD Ross Bjork says Ohio State will participate in revenue sharing and pay athletes the maximum amount allowed while abiding by Title IX rules.

Evaluating Ryan Day’s Six Biggest Positional Question Marks for 2024 Ohio State Football

We take a look at where things stand for Ohio State at six positions Ryan Day considers question marks: Quarterback, offensive line, WR depth, DT depth, safety depth and punter.

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