SEC Football: What a Playoff ‘rethink’ could mean for SEC and CFB

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Recent failure to expand the CFB Playoff may lead SEC football to even more dominance. The carefully developed 12-team format proposal was not fueled by the SEC seeking changes. Consistently over the last two years, SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey told anyone who listened the SEC was content with the four-team format.

Now, with the failure of an effort to do what was best for college football, the SEC can and probably should revert to what is best for the SEC.

SEC football teams have won 12 of the last 16 National Championships. Other conferences are so fearful of the power of the SEC it drove three of the Power Fives to concoct an ‘Alliance’ that is already crumbling. The only other conference, not needing to be bolstered for viability, the Big Ten has no need to cede anything to the Pac 12 and the ACC. Ohio State Athletic Director, Gene Smith stated in February that the B1G would not move from nine to eight conference games, to facilitate more games with Pac 12 and ACC teams. Smith was blunt in saying,

"If we were just looking at TV value, we’re more valuable to Pac-12 and the ACC than they are to us"

Since TV value is what matters most, the odds are greater the Big Ten will expand than it will shepherd the Alliance arrangement.

When the 12-team CFB Playoff expansion failed, Greg Sankey said it was time to “rethink” all formats. It is unlikely Sankey was referring to tweaking the 12-team plan. What Sankey must be willing to consider, could become the SEC’s boldest move yet.

That move would be not stopping at 16 teams when Texas and Oklahoma finally extricate themselves from the Big 12. The SEC could become the first ‘Super League’ to grow to 20 teams.

SEC Football is the ‘Big Dog’ followed by the Big Ten

With 20 teams, the SEC could market its own six or eight-team Playoff series and gain a massive media rights deal. The Big Ten, having pulled in Notre Dame, and three other Power Five teams, including maybe USC and UCLA could have an 18-team version of the SEC.

The SEC and the Big Ten could run their separate post-season Playoffs with the winners playing each other for the National Championship.

Credible college football experts have speculated one of the two scenarios is the most likely next direction for college football.

In the scenario described, what would the other current 27 Power Five teams and the Group of Five teams do? They could build an alternative playoff structure, much like the NIT has been in relation to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

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Would a real alliance of 38 – 40 teams from SEC and B1G expansions be best for college football? Probably not, but if it happens, the Pac 12 and the ACC should only blame themselves.