CFB Playoff: Big changes possible as decision-makers meet

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

The Management Committee for the CFB Playoff meets this week in Dallas. The 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s Athletic Director are expected to make decisions about the 12-team playoff format that begins next season, as well as other key issues.

Not everything will be resolved this week. Negotiations on new TV contracts may take a few more months.

There are two things for college football fans to keep in mind while following the committee’s actions. One is changes for another couple of years require unanimous votes. The other is what will underlie almost all debate will be money. Until a new TV deal or deals, how much money will not be known, but how to carve up future amounts will drive most decisions this week and beyond.

A complicating factor is what to do about a Pac-12 that next season could be just Washington State and Oregon State. Currently, the plan for the 12-team format is six automatic qualifiers from the six highest-ranked conference champions. According to CFB Playoff expert Ross Dellenger, the SEC’s Greg Sankey is strongly opposed to the 6+6 format that could result in a Playoff team not being ranked in the top 25.

The AAC’s Mike Aresco has been vocal that he would not vote on a 5+7 format that Sankey and it appears, most of the committee prefers. According to Dellenger, Aresco has recently stated he might be willing to support the 5+7 format in exchange for assurance a Group of Five team will be guaranteed an automatic spot “long-term.”  That would be a smart move for the Group of Five conferences, because a couple of years from now, when the Management Committee can take action based on majority rather than unanimous votes, the Group of Five might not be protected.

The CFB Playoff organization will also be moving forward with a new leader. The 2023 season is Bill Hancock’s 18th and final season to oversee college football’s National Championship process. Hancock’s successor will likely be determined this week.

Using Tuesday night’s Playoff rankings, Ross Dellenger provided how the 12-team format would work next season if the format stays a six automatic bids and six at-large bids.

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Alabama football fans who may have been slow to warm to a 12-team format, can see how well it would serve the Alabama Crimson Tide if it was in place this season.