College Football Playoff 12-team expansion a done deal


This post is not breaking news. The expanded 12-team College Football Playoff has not been officially approved. It will be, in actions this week and next. Any remaining suspense will center on sorting through a few of the details and choosing a season for implementation.

How do we know this? The process of getting to this point was revealed on Wednesday by Ross Dellenger who became privy to over two years of background scoop. It is quite a story, remarkable in multiple ways.

This Thursday and Friday the four-person College Football Playoff (CFP) sub-group will work with the rest of the CFP Management Committee to hash out details. They may explain why six, eight, 12, 16 and 24 team formats were discarded but so much progress has been made behind the scenes, expansion will be 12-teams or nothing. And it will not be nothing, as Dellenger explained.

"Mark Keenum, the Mississippi State president and the chair of the CFP’s highest governance body, the Board of Managers, approached CFP executive director Bill Hancock in January 2019 with a directive: examine the playoff."

School Presidents and Chancellors have been the force driving the need for the Playoffs to expand. They will not backtrack when an expansion plan is presented to them next week.

There is a slight chance the Management Committee, after reviewing the 12-team plan this week, will opt for no change from the current four-team field. Theoretically, they could, but they won’t. That is because SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West Commissioner, Craig Thompson and Notre Dame Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick have trumped the whole process. The effort of the four-men has been beyond considerable.

As Dellenger explains, the four worked stealthily with secrecy essential to the task.

"Covert meetings, bracket-covered hotel walls and a group of four men define the story that will change the course of college football."

Dellenger is not guilty of hyperbole. The four sub-group guys were joined in the work sessions by College Football Playoff Executive Director, Bill Hancock and Dave Marmion, the CFP, CFO. Swarbrick recently elaborated,

"(Other) People didn’t even know what was going on. We all swore ourselves to secrecy."

The ‘shut-down from prying eyes’ approach chosen by the group of four was the only way a sound plan could be analyzed, developed, and become a (soon-to-be) fait accompli. Public debate over the close to 100 options the group considered, would have destroyed the effort.

Whether college football fans like, love, or hate the 12-team expansion format, it is both bold and sound. The work of the sub-group is so solid, there is no way the Management Committee and the Board of Managers will move away from it.

It is a done deal – that was well done.

Next. Alabama is 'Wide Receiver U'. dark

The when component of Playoff expansion implementation will take time. The dollars are so great, negotiations of new media deals and distributions to conferences will take time.