“The road of least resistance toward a good result”

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.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

45 responses to ““The road of least resistance toward a good result”

  1. stoopnagle

    Amateurism FTW


  2. jdawg108

    The worst thing about all of this is knowing that they’ll still find some way to screw UGA.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. akascuba

    Whatever the final announced number of games the justification will end with. This is the best possible system for our student athletes.


  4. 81Dog

    “Diversity of programs.” What does this even mean?

    Yes, let’s find a way to include mediocre programs and conferences. That should make for some compelling matchups. And the mediocre can feel better about themselves. Never mind the extra wear and tear on the players.

    This isn’t the NFL, where teams all have the same resources, and everyone has access to great players. It IS a high speed collision sport, where physics dictates the biggest, strongest, and fastest players have a huge advantage. Playoff expansion is only a good idea if you’re a TV exec, a college administrator, or a problem gambler. If you care about finding the best team after a meaningful regular season, this is just stupid.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. Down Island Way

    Chasing those $$$ just cheapened the game we all know and love (it’s bad now)…the same institutions will still get in (top 7/8), the playoffs seem to work at the d-2 level and i find those games interesting (ish), there is no real cash at stake…but get invited the 12 game playoff (soon to be 16/20), now we’re talking some cashola….and the bowls games will just plain be the nit of college football…


  6. They are even trying to use saving the bowl system to rationalize the expansion. When this goes to 12 (sorry, but there’s no if now), you can officially drive a stake through the heart of the bowl system.

    I want to know how this is going to work given the constraints of the calendar. I guess football players won’t get to go home for Christmas unless they live very close by and will be practicing hard while trying to prepare for final exams.

    Conference championships – 1st week in December
    Play-in round – 2nd week in December (on campus)
    Quarterfinals – 3rd week in December (on campus or at bowl sites)
    Holiday week – if you don’t think the 4 teams will be practicing, you’re kidding yourself
    Semifinals – New Year’s Day
    Championship game – 2nd Monday in January

    When it goes in this direction, I’ll support the players organizing and asking for a big slice of the revenue pie. If we’re going to have NFL Lite, I want the players to reap the rewards rather than the administrators. My question will be whether I continue to be interested.


    • Here’s the Group of 5 anthem when it comes to winning the national championship (too bad he was a Handbag):

      Liked by 2 people

      • Here’s what the field would look like in 2019 (everything was too strange to use 2020 as a benchmark):

        Play-in round:
        #12 Memphis @ #5 UGA
        #11 Utah @ #6 Oregon (rematch)
        #10 Penn State @ #7 Baylor
        #9 Florida @ #8 Wisconsin

        Quarterfinals (my prediction of the winner – likely “neutral” field bowl site):
        #9 Florida vs. #1 LSU at New Orleans/Sugar Bowl (rematch)
        #10 Penn State vs. #2 Ohio State at Miami/Orange Bowl (rematch)
        #6 Oregon vs. #3 Clemson at Dallas/Cotton Bowl
        #5 UGA vs. #4 Oklahoma at Pasadena/Rose Bowl

        #5 UGA vs. #1 LSU at Atlanta/Peach Bowl (rematch on the same field)
        #3 Clemson vs. #2 Ohio State at Phoenix/Fiesta Bowl

        #1 LSU vs. #3 Clemson

        If you’re a fan of Cinderella, it ain’t happening.

        Liked by 2 people

        • 2018 (yes, I need to get to work):

          Play-in round:
          #12 Penn State @ #5 UGA
          #11 LSU @ #6 Ohio State
          #10 Florida @ #7 Michigan
          #9 Washington @ #8 UCF

          #8 UCF vs. #1 Alabama at Atlanta/Peach Bowl
          #10 Florida vs. #2 Clemson at New Orleans/Sugar Bowl
          #6 Ohio State vs. #3 Notre Dame at Pasadena/Rose Bowl
          #5 UGA vs. #4 Oklahoma at Phoenix/Fiesta Bowl

          #5 UGA vs. #1 Alabama at Miami/Orange Bowl
          #6 Ohio State vs. #2 Clemson at Dallas/Cotton Bowl

          #5 UGA vs. #2 Clemson (yes, I’m dreaming that we get over the Bama hump)

          Liked by 2 people

          • PTC DAWG

            I’ll admit, the first round in this scenario would draw big crowds most of the time in the home stadium….

            Liked by 1 person

            • PTC DAWG

              That said, the juice is not worth the squeeze.

              Liked by 1 person

            • PTC, since this is about maximizing revenue rather than identifying the best team, you’re right. I would definitely agree that the play-in round would likely have sold out stadiums. I would say you would get that from 8 as well (using 2018 as the example with the P5 champions, a Gof5 champion and 2 wild cards):
              #8 Washington @ #1 Alabama
              #7 UCF @ #2 Clemson
              #6 Ohio State @ #3 Notre Dame
              #5 UGA @ #4 Oklahoma


          • While listening to a conference call, I came up with the 16-team scenario for 2018:
            #16 West Virginia @ #1 Alabama
            #15 Texas @ #2 Clemson
            #14 Kentucky @ #3 Notre Dame
            #13 Washington State @ #4 Oklahoma
            #12 Penn State @ #5 UGA
            #11 LSU @ #6 Ohio State
            #10 Florida @ #7 Michigan
            #9 Washington @ #8 UCF

            Do any of those teams (13-16) have a chance in hell in knocking off the top 4? That Texas team could have possibly beaten Clemson if Clemson was uninterested (like we were in New Orleans). I guess Kentucky could have caught ND looking ahead.


            • Got Cowdog

              Those two stood out to me as potential upsets as did Washington/ UCF… (On second thought, let’s say UCF won. I’d love to see The Danny-Boys square up against Saban). Possibly LSU over tOSU. If this were to happen and the upsetting team assumed the loser’s rank (Bracket, actually), Wouldn’t it look like this?
              #1 Alabama v #8 UCF
              #2 Texas v #7 Michigan
              #3 Kentucky v #6 LSU
              #4 Oklahoma v #5 UGA
              Actually that’s not a disinteresting set of games.


              • I wouldn’t see them reseeding teams from 16 (or 12) to 8. I also presented the games between teams ranked 5-12 above (9:08 a.m.).

                If you assume Clemson and ND went down in the 1st round, my quarterfinal games would be:
                UK/Ohio St.


      • RangerRuss

        I have to always like TP.
        “Me and Del were singing
        Little Runaway…”


    • Down Island Way



  7. Ran A

    Welcome to the NCAA’s Version of Alice in Wonderland. This rabbit hole will just get deeper and deeper and the bizarre things that will come will make Lewis Carrol’s classic seem downright boring.


  8. theotherdoug

    I think the best 4 teams sitting out the first round is another feature for most of the teams. It guarantees half of the lesser teams win their first game. At 8 the bottom 4 teams are very likely to get destroyed in the first round, and that undermines the “need” for an expanded playoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. By Jove, Senator, I think you’ve got it! Right there in your final sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dawg in Austin

    For someone who thinks 4 is perfect for a college playoff and would bristle at 8+, I can see how 8 would work for more people if they put a ranking cutoff in place for access to the playoff. Conference champs with a ranking higher than 12 would qualify, lessening the FOMO for those non-conference winner teams ranked 5-8. In most years there just isn’t much difference between 5 and 12. It wouldn’t make me happy as a UGA fan in some years, but it isn’t about the fans anyway.


    • Don’t see it. The only thing you’ve accomplished is to cut out the G5 if they don’t have a team in the top 12. That in itself is a problem if you accept the reporting in the linked article.

      Actually, now that I think about it, if you’re suggesting that P5 conference champs not in the top 12 are also out, that’s a deal breaker, too.

      This is about the money.

      Liked by 1 person

      • PTC DAWG

        Unfortunately, you are correct.


      • Dawg in Austin

        I agree with you about the likelihood of that happening, it’s just what I think could be a more palatable compromise. There are no good ideas after 4.


        • The only expansion I would support is 6 and only if there aren’t automatic bids. I really don’t like that either.


          • Dawg in Austin

            I agree but there’s only been one time in the last 20 years that 6 teams had national championship resumes.


            • Yes, in 2007, there was 1 team that had 1 regular season loss and that team (anOSU) got blown out of the Superdome by LSU in the championship game.

              Believe me, I’m not an expansion guy. I only wish they would go back to a formula to pick the 4 rather than this stupid committee.

              The real reason for this (and why it’s going to land with 12 or 16) is that the New Year’s 6 bowl games are dying and the best way to prop them up is for the quarterfinal games to be played in those locations. The problem no one has considered is whether fans are going to be willing to travel 3 weeks in a row for these games. Imagine if Georgia played a quarterfinal in Tempe, a semifinal in Pasadena 2 weekends later, and a championship game a week later in Las Vegas. You would need to take out a 2nd mortgage on your home to take a family of 4 to all 3 games.


  11. whybotherdude

    Can’t wait until the Toilet Bowl in Shreveport is a playoff game.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Russ

    Man, this is depressing.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. SEC and BigX teams could wind up playing each other 3 times in a season in this format. That will really boost the whole diversity thing for national fan interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. practicaldawg

    So this basically guarantees that SEC schools with NC aspirations will have to face Saban 2-3 times per year. Cool.


  15. TripleB

    I think the expansion movement will move quickly once they get NIL worked out. Once the schools figure out what that looks like, how it affects recruiting, etc., they will feel like they can justify more games to get more money because the kids are now getting paid too. It may be a natural progression as college ball starts to look more like pro ball.

    In the end, the fans of college football will probably adjust. As a kid, I liked the NFL. Once I went to UGA, I became hooked on college ball thinking it was more pure. Over the last many years, I have started liking the NFL again and I wonder if its because college ball seems less and less different than pro ball? Or maybe its because of the fun of gambling on the games. Eventually, it may be all very similar.


  16. DawgFlan

    I’d be up for 2 things:

    1) Require 2 regular season OOC P5 games in order to qualify for the playoffs, with one on the road or at a neutral site.

    2) The 2nd Saturday in December, the 6 highest ranked teams NOT playing in a P5 conference championship game should play each other. If a G5 team is in this group they may have to forego their conference championship, or G5s need to wrap and play their championship games the week prior. These are not true play-in games, but eliminates those instances where teams (ND, Bama) benefit of not playing a conference championship, and makes pretenders play at least on top 20 team.

    After the weekend slate of games, a BCS type ranking would have better data to select the top 4, but no more than 6 with the top 2 getting byes. All at large.


  17. RangerRuss

    Agh. Just make the best of it. When the Dawgs are up by 31 put your young guys in and gain experience. Simply beat everyone in front of you. Greedy bastages.


  18. 69Dawg

    You know the more these “Administrators” take advantage of the help (players) the more I pull for the bill now proposed that would give the players the right to a union. I’m not a union guy but the players that, after 12 games, have to continue to play should be compensated for the added risk. Make the damn CFP insure each and every player for a very large amount should they be injured. Hell let them bargain to make the colleges give the players a cut of the broadcast money to be shared equally among the
    players 5* all the way down to walk-ons. They are really beginning to piss me off.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. classiccitycanine

    If they go to 12, that would be a fatal blow to my love of college football. I don’t want to watch a version of college football where who wins the WLOCP or the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry doesn’t matter. If you’re tired of the same small group of teams rotating through the Playoff, get ready to see that entire group get in every single year even if they lose a couple games.

    Liked by 1 person

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