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TSU players say playoffs are way to go
Even ones with bowl experience prefer playoffs
For years fans of big-time college football have been clamoring for what the Football Championship Subdivision has had for decades: a playoff system.
The Football Bowl Subdivision will finally take a step in that direction next season when it introduces a four-team playoff.
It will be a step in the right direction, according to some of Tennessee State’s players. The Tigers are getting a taste of the playoffs, which were expanded this year to 24 teams, for the first time since 1999.
“The playoffs are what football is about,” said TSU senior running back Tim Broughton, who rushed for 1,046 yards on 212 carries in the regular season. “It’s how the NFL does it, and that tells you all you need to know.”
The Tigers (9-3) will visit Butler (9-3) on Saturday in the first round. The winner moves on to play No. 2 Eastern Illinois, which has a first-round bye.
“I think the playoffs are more successful than the system the FBS uses because you end up with a true champion,” said senior wide receiver Devin Wilson from Pope John Paul II. “We’ve got to win five games in order to be the champion, and I like that a little bit better than the bowl system, which doesn’t really decide much.”
Wilson said the fact the FBS is adopting a playoff system is proof that the FCS has it right.
“I like how they’re going to the four-team (playoff) system,” he said. “But I wish they would do like we do and go to the 24-team system because more than four teams deserve to be in the playoffs. In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and with 24 teams you’re sure to have the best in the mix.”
Junior tight end A.C. Leonard knows what it’s like to play in a bowl and be involved in the playoffs. Before transferring to TSU he was at Florida and played in the 2012 Gator Bowl against Ohio State.
Leonard had a 4-yard catch in the Gators’ 24-17 win.
“I have to say the bowl game was a great experience,” Leonard said. “I liked all the buildup to the bowl. The atmosphere is pretty much the same for both because everybody wants to win. You don’t want to lose your bowl game and have that be the last game of your season and you don’t want to lose your playoff game because you want to keep playing.”
Starting cornerback De’Ante Saunders, a junior, also transferred from Florida and recorded four solo tackles and recovered a fumble in the 2012 Gator Bowl. He said he likes the playoff more because it serves as a second season.
“You get to play more games with your teammates; you get more stats, more picks and more recognition,” Saunders said. “If you feel like you left anything on the field in the regular season, you get another season to get it done.”
By Mike Organ, The Tennessean