Seven years after a 12-year contract that was supposed to relieve pressure on the system, the fork is already getting bigger.
Where do we go from here?
The PCP Management Committee will discuss the matter at its regular meeting June 17-18. From there, a formal recommendation should be made to the PCP board. Based on Thursday’s events, this should be a buffer (more on the process here).
We were told that an expanded range would not reach until the 2023 season at the earliest. It would actually be extremely complicated to reconfigure the current CFP contract with ESPN before it expires after the 2025 season.
But here we are standing. Representation in the championship goes from 3% (four out of 130) to 9%. It might not be ideal as nearly a fifth of FCS’s 125 teams are making their playoffs (24), but it’s a start – and it’s better.
To find out who is most affected by this proposed CFP expansion, let’s take a look.
Group of five: AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco, who has lobbied so long and so hard for the inclusion of his conference, was out for dinner Thursday night with his wife. He was jokingly asked if this was his second bottle of champagne. “I can drink it straight from the bottle,” Aresco said.
It’s time to celebrate for the Group of Five conferences. The AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt got what they always wanted: a seat at the table. Perhaps more than one, as the recommendation calls for the six top-ranked conference champions (not specified to include the Power Five) plus six general teams on the pitch. It’s another way of saying, for the first time, the Group of Five will be guaranteed at least one opportunity to play for the national championship.
In fact, the Group of Five could get multiple berths. This reportedly happened last year when No.8 Cincinnati and No.12 Coastal Carolina entered the field as conference champions ahead of No.25 Oregon.
The commissioners had to know what they were doing. This possibility makes the model a slam dunk when presidents consider it. The access “problem” that has existed for almost a quarter of a century in the BCS and PSC has been resolved. College football never did Cinderella well. Can’t wait to see who fits the glass slipper first.
SECOND: More chances for the Strength Everywhere conference to increase its grip on sport. In an eight-team field, the SEC would likely have seen at least two teams each year. In a group of 12 teams, the possibilities are almost limitless. Adding up the berths over the past two seasons, the SEC would have seven of the 24 berths – 3.5 per year.
Coffers : They will be full – or fullis in FBS schools. Industry sources have estimated that an expanded tranche is worth two or three times more than the current $ 600 million per year. The question is whether ESPN is ready to tear up the current deal with five years to pursue it and renegotiate for a 12-team pitch.
On the bright side, ESPN has exclusive trading rights at the moment. In five years, it could roll the dice with other network streaming services in the mix, pushing up the price. As mentioned, CFP executive director Bill Hancock has said an expanded range will not start until at least 2023.
Campus in December: They can be some of the saddest places in academia. Everyone is either in the final or at home for the holidays. Now try imagining first round playoff games in the snow at Camp Randall Stadium or down the crowded High Street in Columbus, Ohio in the second week of December.
For sports directors and companies, it will be about finding money. Ticket revenues they never budgeted for. Hotels that suddenly fill up. Hoping Arizona State goes up the charts. We would love to have a first round game in Tempe during the Christmas season.
Jerry Palm (and brackets around the world): It makes their job more fun and more complicated. It heightens a conversation that sometimes dies down at the end of the season when it becomes clear that some teams are going to block spots. The pitch would create more intrigue as we see in the NCAA tournament screening. For smiles, here’s what the bracket would have looked like in 2019, the last full season to be played.
Memphis No.12 vs. Georgia No.5 (Winner vs. Oklahoma No.4)
Utah # 11 vs. Oregon # 6 (winner vs. Clemson # 3)
Penn State No.10 to No.7 Baylor (winner over Ohio State No.2)
No. 9 Florida to No. 8 Wisconsin (winner against No. 1 LSU)
Conference Championship Games: They are now getting as close as possible to the first round playoff games. Automatic spots go to the top six conference champions, four of which get first-round exemptions. The field is now large enough to absorb the losers of these games in the event of a monster upheaval. Think 8-4 Northwestern upsetting 11-1 Ohio State in 2018. It didn’t happen, but if it did, the Wildcats likely would have gotten one of those six offers. The Buckeyes would have been relegated to a prominent place in the bottom six. Overview: The sanctity of a conference championship will be enhanced.
Pac-12 : Wider support, better chance for the low-flying Pac-12 to participate. It’s something that was missing on the left side, which missed five of the first seven playoffs. Some of the first words from the mouth of new commissioner George Kliavkoff pleaded for a widening of the playoffs. He’s made his wish come true, even if that means the playoffs have to expand to include the Pac-12 instead of upgrading the Pac-12 to place it in the top four.
But it is not guaranteed. Again, if you had increased the 2020 range to 12, conference champion Oregon would have missed the field in place of Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina.
“The five autonomy conferences deserve an opportunity to compete in the PSC each year,” said outgoing Commissioner Larry Scott. When he comes out of the door, he will get his wish.
Rose bowl: Everyone’s grandfather had to be made to kick and scream in the BCS era that became the PSC. The Rose had to give up their traditional Big Ten-Pac-12 clash during the years when the BCS / CFP was played in Pasadena, Calif. That was 23 years ago when the BCS was formed.
In a field of 12 teams whose quarter-finals will be played on or around January 1, the Rose are almost certain to lose more of this tradition. Think of a Rose Bowl quarterfinal hosting Notre Dame and Coastal Carolina. It could have happened last season if the expanded support was in place. (As mentioned, the Oregon Pac-12 champion would not have made the pitch.)
It also puts Bowl itself out of the race to host a semi-final unless Rose gives up on her long-standing refusal to move her date. The semi-finals will take place later in January. La Rose has already lost its ability to hold a national championship with the start of the CFP in 2014.
Sources already indicate that the Rose will be forced to forgo its exclusivity due to the increase in the size of the stand. Sorry, Rose, but the January 1 2:00 p.m. time slot is unlikely to be guaranteed either. (Along the sunset over the San Gabriel Mountains.) And if that’s part of a bowl rotation, it’s quite likely that the Rose could get the third pick of the Pac-12 and / or the Big. Ten years when she does not host a CFP match. . Grandfather never looked so fragile.
Our Lady: Like virtually everyone else, Notre Dame has a better chance of qualifying for the playoffs. So it’s certainly not that bad for the Fighting Irish. However, because they operate as independents, they can never finish in the top four (guaranteed to conference champions) and avoid the play-in match. This means that every year Notre Dame qualifies, she must win four consecutive games (16 in total) to become national champion. And you thought the Fighting Irish have been having problems lately in CFP (outclassed 61-17 in their last two appearances)?
Will this warning be enough to push Notre-Dame into the ACC? His media rights contract is structured such that, if he decides to join a conference at any time before 2036, it must be the ACC.
While Notre Dame has more access in a 12-team field, its road to a national championship has become much more difficult. Even though sporting director Jack Swarbrick admits that the Irish are playing this extra game is fairer as they don’t have to play and win a conference championship game, it still puts his schedule at a disadvantage if he otherwise deserves enough. be ranked in the top four.
“I can’t wait to never hear again that we played one game less or never played a conference championship,” said Swarbrick, whose schedule only plays 12 regular season games before go to the playoffs.
The bowl experience: The bowl system was already on shaky ground after COVID-19 forced several bowls to cancel last season. Now the CFP will take on eight teams that would have played in boules outside of the playoffs. Will this force some bowls to close permanently? The pecking order will go down a notch for several high-level bowls. Bowls that got the # 2 team from a conference will suddenly get # 3 or # 4. There was already speculation that 42 bowls were too many. And if you thought withdrawals were a problem before, they will be more so.
The bowl experience will suffer as well. Sources say, in a new 12-team playoff, the teams will arrive in town days before the game. No trips to Disneyland, no beach games, no steak. Strictly a business trip. Consider an overnight stay in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Inside and outside. Your season is over. Sad.
Player Safety: Something will have to be found with teams playing potentially 16 or even 17 games. It’s basically an NFL schedule for one-third of the field played by college athletes. The outlook is already bad with Congress blowing the necks of the main university sports.
Yes, yes, the FCS has a 24-team playoff, but the quality of the athlete, the pressures on future careers in the NFL, the health issues are only reinforced in the FBS.
At first glance, the responsibility is enormous. More matches, more risk of injury. More chance of injury, more chance of catastrophic injury. By widening the field, CFP officials seem to be playing with fire.
Asked about safety on Thursday, Swarbrick – the chairman of the task force – said it was unlikely that any of the conference champions, ranked No.5-12 in the first round, would win (and play 17 games in total). It speaks more of access than of excellence.
What’s likely: CFP will launch or pay into some sort of medical assistance fund that helps college athletes.