Every new article I read about playoff expansion reinforces my belief that the people running college football (you can add “into the ground” here, if you like) are morons. Check out the brilliance radiating from Dennis Dodd’s piece.
Driving the discussion now are several factors. Obviously, there is the money. Two industry sources said, depending on the size of the field, an expanded playoff could be worth two or perhaps even three times more than the current $7.2 billion that ESPN is paying the CFP. The average annual payout of the current deal is $475 million. However, typical of media rights deals the payout is backloaded to increase in the final years.
A significant part of the discussion is less about access and more about enhancing the value of the regular season. A sort-of playoff fatigue has formed around the recent stranglehold Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma have put on the game.
“We could go to 24 , and you might still have Alabama and Clemson playing for the championship,” said one person with intimate knowledge of the process.
That’s some enhancement you got there, fellas.
It sounds like Greg Sankey has other fish to fry, though.
“The SEC is going to push 12 because of their brand. I’m hearing 12,” a Group of Five AD told CBS Sports.
A 12-team field would presumably allow for six automatic bids — Power Five conference champions and the top-ranked Group of Five team — along with six at-large bids.
While the SEC might not be overtly driving the discussion for 12 teams, such a structure would likely benefit the game’s most powerful conference. In an eight-team bracket, the SEC would all but be guaranteed two spots annually. In a 12-team bracket, that number could be three or four teams given the current strength of the league and how well it performs in the CFP Rankings.
“The SEC wants more at-larges,” one AD located in the South said.
No shit, Sherlock. Even SEC hater Danny Kanell gets that.
Oh, speaking of enhancing regular season value, the suits are concerned. Just ask ’em.
Concern was expressed that ESPN’s “Who’s In?” advertising campaign for the CFP has drained interest from the second half of the college football season. That source wasn’t the only one who thought the playoff-or-bust mentality had impacted interest. A growing number of ADs and coaches have been critical.
There has been enough thought on the subject that one Power Five source speculated about the impact of a 24-team field.
“You’d have half of FBS that would still be alive in November for those slots,” the source said. “We’re not going to 24, but theoretically, that’s what I think we can accomplish with this.”
Sure, man. Everybody knows the cure for playoff-or-bust mentality is to keep growing the playoff because that will make Mickey pay less attention to an event it has the exclusive broadcast rights for.
What really gets me about all this crap is that these are the same people who led playoff expansion for college basketball. They know from real world experience what happens to the value of the regular season as the postseason grows, not just in terms of the impact of the games themselves, but also in terms of the broadcast dollars. That they have convinced themselves it’ll be different this time is borderline delusional. But not surprising. It’s what you get when the dumbest people in the room are convinced they’re the smartest.