Alabama Football: Get ready for a 12 or maybe 10 team Playoff

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

The success of Alabama Football has been a death knell for the four-team College Football Playoff. Clemson has had a role as well but across the landscape of college football, Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide are most blamed for dissatisfaction with the current Playoff format.

As everyone knows, the Playoff will be expanded. It is pretty clear, any impediment to expansion sooner than later, will be overcome. The money side of the calculations will take the longest with bowls grappling for status and mega-media deals to be negotiated.

The CFB Playoff has been a financial windfall for the Power Fives. It will continue to be with more teams and more games bringing in gigantic dollars.

Over the past few months a four-person committee of Greg Sankey (SEC), Bob Bowlsby (Big 12), Craig Thompson (Moutain West) and Jack Swarbrick (Notre Dame) have been tasked with reviewing dozens of expansion proposals.

There was some doubt consensus could be achieved. Based on recent reporting, led by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the sub-group is close to recommending a 12-team field. Thanks to six appearances each, the SEC and the ACC have dominated Playoff fields. An eight-team format with five conference champions automatically qualifying, plus the top Group of Five team, will not bring added value to the SEC. Currently, the Playoff field has four at-large slots and that would be reduced to two in the most discussed eight-team format.

Thamel summarized the feedback he has received from Playoff insiders.

"there are enough stakeholders who’d prefer to stay at four because of the advantages it gives them over growing to eight. Therefore, the likelihood of a 12-team version — there will even be some chatter about a 10-team tournament as a compromise — has bubbled up."

A strong point for a 12-team field is that the top four seeds could receive byes. Another selling point for SEC programs is a 12-team field, with six at-large slots, could lead to two and even three SEC teams making the field most seasons. Having the larger number of at-large slots can mediate the negative impact when one or more conference champions are not one of the nation’s eight best teams.

Alabama Football and the rest of the SEC well represented

If the 12-team format happens, much of the credit will be due to SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey. Playoff expansion is supposed to be about more fairness. Some Alabama Football fans have been unsure that could be achieved when automatic qualifiers become included. Combining byes for the top four with six at-large slots should satisfy almost every program, including the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Biggest chance of pushback for the proposal

Expanding the field to 12, even with four opening byes, could be argued to add too much to the season for a few teams. Possible remedies like reducing the regular season by a game or ending conference championship games will be a tough sell.

Next. Will Playoff expansion be better than was the BCS?. dark

Growing momentum could lead to a consensus before the end of June. Once an expanded format is accepted, hammering out details can begin, with an announcement likely months away. Or the momentum could splinter into no agreement.