Well, this sounds peachy.
Yahoo Sports spoke to more than a dozen stakeholders Monday on every side of the playoff decision – university officials, athletic directors, media executives and others around college sports. Amid those conversations, a surprise emerged — officials on campuses, in conference offices and in the television world have expressed an openness toward a 12-team playoff as the most likely result.
Why twelve, you might ask?
Let’s start with at-large bids. In the current four-team College Football Playoff model, all four teams are at-large. In a majority of the eight-team models that have been projected, there’d likely be either five or six automatic bids. That means a decrease in at-large bids, which would not be of much interest to the SEC — or even Notre Dame — which could perceive the expanded playoff as having less access. (The Pac-12 and entire Group of Five, to counter, would likely not be interested in expansion without some type of automatic bids).
Another snag that makes some uncomfortable with eight teams is who’d get left out. If there are six automatic bids, for example, a team ranked No. 4 or No. 5 could theoretically be left out and a team ranked No. 18, for example, makes the field. That scenario makes some uncomfortable.
You may recall that I recently wrote,
What the geniuses who run college football are about to do is foist a hybrid subjective/objective set up on us that’s going to set up a negative feedback loop guaranteed to bring even more expansion. What I mean by that is an eight-team playoff field comprised of the five P5 conference champs, the top rated G5 team, plus two more at-large teams (in most seasons, one of those will be Notre Dame) is going to give us the worst of both worlds in that we’re bound to get some conference champs that are worse teams than some of the teams passed over because there aren’t enough at-large spots to accommodate them. That will go over well in certain quarters.
So, they’ll skip that and go to twelve. Checkmate, Senator!
A 12-team version would answer a lot of the immediate looming issues with the College Football Playoff — lack of diversity of programs, access for Group of Five and the erosion of the importance of supposed top-tier bowl games outside the CFP thanks to player opt-outs.
Oh, yes. And don’t forget about that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, fellas.
It’s far too early to declare what the TV deal could look like, other than that it will be much bigger than the current one that reportedly averages a $470 million annual payout.
So, what’s the catch?
The details of how those 11 games in a 12-team system would unfold will still need to be worked out in upcoming months. But the thought is that the first four teams would get a bye and teams No. 5 to No. 8 would host teams No. 9 through 12 at home sites. (This could, of course, irk teams that finished higher and don’t get the big gate, memorable experience and home-field advantage of a playoff game.)
Let me see if I’ve got that straight. The four best teams lose out on the gate from a home playoff game, but get an additional week of rest and preparation, compared to the rest of the field. There’s only one way to fix those problems. On to sixteen!
UPDATE: This is a good point.