On future CFB Playoff revenue, two of the 'Power Four' caved to the SEC and the Big Ten

The 'Power Two' of the SEC and the Big Ten gained a financial edge in the recent debate over how to carve up the next media rights mega deal.
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There are many issues dividing FBS college football programs. While the differing perspectives are not unimportant, not all issues gain equal attention. For simplicity, the decaying NCAA can be blamed. Even so, the NCAA is controlled by its member institutions, meaning there should be shared blame.

The reality is elite college football programs control the future. The reason why is the SEC and the Big Ten have maneuvered their leagues into the driver's seat for college football. The reason why the two conferences have created a demarcation between themselves and the rest of college football is simple. The reason is money, primarily CFB Playoff money.

Detractors of the SEC and the Big Ten accuse the conferences of being greedy. A more fair explanation is big-time college football is big business. It is standard fare for any ambitious business entity to act based on self-interest.

A new CFB Playoff media deal allowed the 'Power Two' to capitalize on disproportionately having college football's most valuable brands. The new, nearly concluded Playoff media deal is massive. At every level, programs will garner more dollars than before. What is also changing is the split of proceeds.

Let's digress and review what college football has become. With the collapse of the Pac-12, the Power Five became a Power Four. After some serious muscle flexing, the Power Four became the 'Power Two' (the SEC and the Big Ten) and 'Two More' (the ACC and the Big 12). What is left should now be called the 'Group of SIx', with the past Group of Five adding the two remaining Pac-12 teams.

New CFB Playoff Deal

In recent negotiations, superbly reported by Ross Dellenger, the Power Two demanded an unequal distribution of future, base CFB Playoff revenues. According to Dellenger, the expected distribution number is 29% going to the SEC and 29% to the Big Ten. The ACC will get 17.1% and the Big 12's share will be 14.7%. The remaining distribution is to be 9% to the Group of Five, 1% to Notre Dame, and less than 1% to be shared by UConn, Washington State, and Oregon State. In the new deal, the Big 12 gained a clause for a future 'look-in' to the financial arrangement, to be triggered by future conference realignment.

Group of Five commissioners cannot be pleased with the payouts, but accepting them is better than potentially being left out of future Playoffs.

Though the exact format has not been settled, all reports are the Playoff field will be 14 teams, beginning in the 2026 season.

In the 10 years of the CFB Playoff, 29 of the participating teams came from what will be the new SEC and the new Big Ten. As Greg Sankey has reiterated, the SEC has provided most of the product that drove Playoff success, with six of the National Champions being SEC programs.