CFB Playoff: There is an easy solution to Playoff expansion stalemate

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The CFB Playoff expansion stalemate can be easily resolved. Basically, at some future point, media companies just have to align themselves behind a format they are willing to bid the most money on, in order to gain the rights. Money in such massive proportion talks.

It would be better for college football if those who run college football programs (and thereby produce the talent for the entertainment product) agreed first.  Then the new expanded format could be presented for media bids. So far, the ‘deciders’ in college football have been incapable of moving in that direction.

As we discussed a few weeks ago, continued failure to agree on expansion could lead to a rethink by the SEC and maybe one or two other conferences. A one, two, or three (maybe four) super-conferences alignment could choose to create a new and separate post-season Playoff and Championship.

As Oklahoma State coach, Mike Gundy recently opined, conferences are going to keep expanding. Sixteen-team conferences may become the new norm. Although there is no clear reason why the SEC would ever want more than 16 teams, the league could decide 18 or even 20 would be a better number.

What comes next and how soon is anybody’s guess. What is for sure now is the SEC and the Big Ten have the power to determine the post-season future of college football. A 32-40 team strong SEC and Big Ten could stage a Playoff product that would rake in the most media dollars.

If the Pac 12 wants to fade further in college football’s rearview mirror, it can protect a hallowed start time for the Rose Bowl and pretty much miss out on everything else.

There are two simple solutions without such bold actions. One is staging two CFB Playoffs. One for the Power Five conferences and a separate one for the Group of Fives. If that means an adjustment from a Power Five to a Power Four, so be it.

For those who want everybody to get on board with a single Playoff structure, there is another simple solution.

CFB Playoff Expansion Solution

Note: This presumes the same  Power Five group currently in place

  • 12-team Playoff field
  • CFB Playoff committee seeds the 12 teams and the first five seed positions go to the five Power Five champions
  •  The top four seeds get opening-round byes
  • The remaining seven slots would be at-large selections with at least two going to Group of Five teams.

The result of the above format would probably mean every season nine or ten Power Five teams would participate. The SEC could consistently get three or four teams. The format would provide relative ‘fairness’ – even though it would also mean teams with no chance to win a championship would sometimes participate.

There would certainly be whiners and obstructionists to such a plan. The massive dollars from future media deals would likely drown them out.

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CFB Playoff expansion, as one boring ad campaign continually claims, is not complicated.