“There’s a level of respect that’s present and will remain going forward.”

Hey, remember my simple question?

Well, Greg Sankey’s having none of that.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN on Thursday that the expected move of Big 12 co-founders Oklahoma and Texas to his league shouldn’t impact the consideration of a 12-team College Football Playoff. Sankey also expects to continue working with Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the CFP’s management committee in spite of what has become an obviously fractured relationship.

Bowlsby and Sankey were two of the four members of the CFP subcommittee who spent the past two years working closely together on developing the proposal for a 12-team format, along with Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

“Let’s look back at history at the ability of people to work together through challenging circumstances,” Sankey said. “In 2010 there was movement, 2011 dating back to movement around the Big East and the ACC. There were moments, but we all have a responsibility. I do think there’s a level of respect that’s present and will remain going forward. There are tough times, but those who have been in leadership positions have always been able to work through those elements of our relationships and our work.”

The rest of the college football world can be summarized for now as “fuck your no hard feelings, Greg.”

One high-ranking official involved in the process told ESPN he expects a “serious mixed range of views” when the 22 commissioners and presidents convene in September.

“It’s probably going to be a slightly tense meeting because of a little bit of a lack of trust,” the source said. “It’s an environment right now where I think it’s fair to say not everybody trusts everybody else because there are a lot of moving parts.”

The problem for them, of course, as Sankey knows damned well, is that there’s so much money with a 12-team playoff.

Sankey continued to reiterate that the SEC wasn’t leading the charge on playoff expansion, and he has said repeatedly he is happy with a four-team field.

“That decision hasn’t changed,” he said. “Twelve was built around a set of principles and realities that I think have been present and will remain present in college football. Others may feel differently, so they have a format in which they can react. That was the charge of the working group. I’ll be curious to hear their feedback.”


“It just feels uneasy relative to the 12 [teams],” Kliavkoff told CBS Sports. “I’m assuming my colleagues, nationally, this is a reason to pause on the 12. We need to pause.”

Yeah.  The question for George is how long.  The Pac-12 may tut tut for a little while, but it needs a 12-team format with a guaranteed slot for a conference champ badly.  And, again, Sankey knows that.

“The Pac-12 doesn’t get in the playoff very often in the current format,” Sankey told CBS Spots. “I think we all felt a responsibility to look at different models to provide access.

“If somebody wants to suggest this was motivated by some self interest, they’re missing a big picture. Why would I support any automatic conference access? Why would I have said pretty openly we shouldn’t leave the West Coast part of the country out of the playoff?”

There will be a playoff fight between the conferences about the CFP.  But it won’t be about the format.  It’s going to be about — what else? — distribution of revenue.

In devastating the Big 12 to the point it has lost 50% to 75% of its value, the SEC enhanced its power, leverage and earning potential to the point some college leaders fear the conference could earn six of the 12 available playoff spots in the proposed expansion.

“With 12 teams, we could just be watching a lot of SEC teams in the 12-team playoff,” a highly-placed Power Five source told CBS Sports.

One Power Five AD added: “Why on God’s green Earth would the Pac-12 and Big Ten hand over these [playoff] rights, which only strengthens the SEC?”

A second Power Five AD agreed: “I don’t care if there are 10 SEC teams in; we just can’t make that a bonanza [every] year for them. You can’t strangle everybody else financially.”

Easier said than done, Bubba.

An easy fix for the CFP would be limiting the number teams from one conference that could enter a 12-team field. The problem? None of the stakeholders want that. As dominant as the SEC could become, other power conferences do not want to give up the possibility of unlimited berths for their leagues.

Sankey’s already showing one of his hole cards.

As proposed, an expanded playoff would include the top six ranked conference champions with no automatic bids. The top four ranked teams would receive first-round byes.

However, Sankey has raised the idea of accepting the 12 best teams, regardless of conference titles.

“Should we just say the 12 best teams?” Sankey proposed. “I’ve been asked that by our own membership.”

They’re just asking, y’all.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football

15 responses to ““There’s a level of respect that’s present and will remain going forward.”

  1. Down Island Way

    “Where it just means more (teams in the cfp), the SEC”…seems like the commish sucker punched college football’s world and others are pissed cause they didn’t do it first…

    Liked by 2 people

    • rigger92

      Knowing what we know now I think it’s hilarious. Everyone knew playoff expansion was inevitable, any of the other commissioners could have done the same thing to get out in front.

      Liked by 1 person

      • chicagodawgfan

        The irony is less than a month ago the P5 was all clamoring for an expanded CFP and pushing the 12 team narrative. Now they suddenly have sellers remorse? Just like Texas A&M, the rest of the P5 will fall in line because they have no better alternative and they need the money.


  2. 81Dog

    Sankey has been reading Sun Tzu. “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s will without fighting.”

    So, let me get this straight: Sankey has clearly been working behind the scenes to gut the Big 12 and steal a march on the rest of the P5, while simultaneously allowing himself to be dragged along into a CFP expansion he claims not to care about even though the SEC would put at least 3 or 4 teams yearly into it, and allowed the rest of the P5 to get a whiff of the promised riches they might reap after the SEC gets the biggest bite, and now blithely reluctantly claims, “Hey, TX and OU called me, what else could I do. And if other marquee schools call me, what can I do?” So now, the P5 is stuck with take some money before it all disappears, while half {or more) of the field is the SEC, they hoover up even more money, dominate the rights money even more, and create a bigger gap between the SEC and the rest of what’s left, or they say no, the SEC dominates right fees while the rest of the P5 becomes less valuable, the gap widens, and they’re an afterthought while the world waits to see who wins the SEC; the CFP becomes “the tournament to se who gets drilled BY THE SEC THIS YEAR?”

    Talk about a Hobson’s choice. And Sankey, as clever as he is, can’t see anything but Disney money. The suits at Disney don’t care about CFB. It’s a way to maximize ad revenue, nothing more. They’ll smash it into pieces, monetize the valuable ones, and the less valuable ones will be sold for parts. Disney isn’t throwing money around out of altruism. When they own all the valuable properties, the rent is going up. They can bypass all the cable/network rights hassles with streaming. We may get a cheap-ish taste for a couple of years, to get us hooked, but just wait. Disney will own it all, and you will pay. The college admins will blow the cash, because they always do. They’re politicians, not business people.

    But yeah, this all just came out of the blue the last couple weeks, and Sankey is shocked as anyone. Shocked! Pull the other leg, Greg, it has bells on it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. mp

    PAC-12 can’t sit around and wait. Honestly they only have two programs with true value – USC and Oregon. If those two get overtures from the Big 10, why should they stay? Quicker they can get to 12 team playoff, the better.


  4. Harold Miller

    Honey I didn’t kiss her; she kissed me. She’s hot; what do you expect me to do?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Harold Miller

    As an aside, the SEC is already the best baseball conference. Now it’s boarder-line ridiculous.



    12 best teams, tee it up.


  7. godawgs1701

    As someone who prefers staying at 4 and letting the regular season continue to be important in our sport, I say bring it on. Because the SEC is about to have Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn, and Florida. It’s also going to have Texas and Texas A&M. Just what exactly makes these morons running the other power conferences think that a four-team CFP isn’t going to be a MINIMUM of two and most years three SEC teams? They’d better expand the damn thing to 6, 8, or 12 regardless of the fact it’s going to be more money for the SEC – if they don’t, it means NO money for them! If they want to just watch three SEC teams lock horns with Ohio State every year, hey, I’m here for it. Let’s go.


  8. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    4 super conferences. Each with two divisions. Champs of each division play for conference title. Conference champs in the 4 team playoff. That’s a de facto 8 team field.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. uga97

    Who cares how many teams from a single conference make a damn playoff??? That’s conference commissioner, short soiling narrative bs.

    Two SEC teams made the college world series finals…because they earned it. Plenty more conferences including the ACC & P12 had high representation in that playoff.

    Set the rules & let it happen on the field. Stop whining about others & focus on how to make yer member schools better. But, that’s too late Mr. Bowlsby, who was a total goddamn failure to his conference & now he is throwing smoke, mirrors & blame to cover his tracks.