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Condoleezza Rice: Keep the 4-team CFP format 'where it is'

SAN ANTONIO -- Condoleezza Rice offered her reasoning for why staying with a four-team College Football Playoff is preferable during a Q-and-A session Thursday at the NCAA annual convention in San Antonio.

"I like the system where it is," Rice said. "I understand that worthy teams are going to get left out, but scarcity is not a bad thing. It makes it more competitive and, I think, more interesting."

Rice, a member of the College Football Playoff committee, was the event's keynote luncheon speaker and received the Gerald R. Ford Award, presented annually by the NCAA to an individual who has demonstrated significant leadership by advocating on behalf of sports.

In the Q-and-A session, led by NCAA president Mark Emmert, Rice was asked about her role on the playoff committee and joked that she's made the right choices on playoff teams "so far."

Rice's chief concern with an eight-team playoff is how extending the football season would affect student-athletes' academic schedules. She also worries that more playoff games would take a physical toll on players.

"I do believe there is a physical difference between the 19-year-old boy, if you will, and the 22- or 23-year-old professional," Rice said. "I don't think you want to push it very far in terms of multiple more games. I heard [Ohio State coach] Urban Meyer make that argument and I think it's a great argument."

Rice added that she prefers the way the four-team playoff system has kept the bowl game system intact.

"The bowl games still matter, and the rivalry games in that rivalry weekend have become a little bit like a play-in weekend.

"That's exciting," she said. "You don't want the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State or the Big Game between Stanford and Cal or the Iron Bowl, Alabama-Auburn, to be irrelevant somehow."