I don't think anyone prefers the new design, but it's up to SBNation and therefore isn't going to change.
True if Jeff wants to keep CB hosted by SBNation. I'm guessing SBNation takes care of a lot of the technical issues that come with hosting a site that Jeff and staff used to have to take care of themselves. A lot less headache for them probably. So there're trade-offs; a user interface that users don't like as well, but far fewer headaches for the site owner. It's a reasonable trade-off, in my view.
I don't like the new front page as well as the old either, but have gotten accustomed to the new, so no longer have major issues with it. Besides, if I want to see the articles in a 'table of contents' format with a few lines of the content showed, I also use FeedDemon feed reader, and CB is one of a number of Celtics sites bookmarked in there, which, in a way, almost duplicates what the old CB functioned like.
At the end of day, the site is about the community that contributes, and whether or not you appreciate the many writers and commenters that provide the content and insight. That, and whether or not you like and are comfortable with the way a site is moderated, etc. I appreciate that CB doesn't use too heavy a hand in their moderation, and it has some of the best commenters around. A little homerish, sure, but that's the nature of a fansite.