College Football Playoff expansion on shaky ground as conferences seem unable to get on same page

An expanded Faculty Soccer Playoff made whole sense. Keep in mind these days? It was wanted, needed and offered alternative to virtually everybody who deserved one.

The SEC would get extra groups. The Pac-12 would no less than get a group. The highest Group of 5 champion could be just about assured a spot. The Group of 5 may even get two in semi-frequently. And Notre Dame would solely want to complete within the high 12.

Extra groups, extra money, extra curiosity.

Keep in mind?

That was 5 lengthy months in the past when CFP government director Invoice Hancock shocked the world by dropping language of a potential expanded bracket within the seventeenth paragraph of a press launch.

Ever since, the migration of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC set off one other spherical of realignment that has not a lot destabilized the game because it has CFP growth. The Huge Ten, ACC and Pac-12 responded by forming, effectively, it is not fairly clear what they fashioned. They joined collectively for some form of “alliance” with no contract or clear goal besides to jam a stick within the spokes of the wheel of SEC world domination.

The CFP CEOs, who a couple of months in the past regarded like they had been going to rubber stamp growth at a a lot anticipated assembly this Tuesday in Chicago, will now meet with commissioners by way of Zoom.

There isn’t any level to assembly in individual with this a lot divisiveness, and there’s no level to holding a vote as a result of there isn’t a consensus. Removed from it.  

There’s a now creeping dread that the stakeholders who put this factor collectively will watch it disintegrate.

Perhaps it is only a feeling. Perhaps a 12-team playoff is inevitable. It is definitely one other screaming instance that college football wants a commissioner, somebody to get within the room and actively create consensus as an alternative of the game hoping these raging wildfires of self-interest put themselves out.

We have found the NCAA is not the one shareholder with a management void. The CFP growth endeavor is trending towards the calamity that was the uneven response to COVID-19 when the Energy 5 seemingly cut up in 5 completely different instructions.

The growth course of up to now has change into rattling annoying for followers, media, even gamers, a few of whom sooner or later are going to be requested to play as much as 17 video games, identical as a present NFL schedule (earlier than that expands). That specific concern has but to be meaningfully addressed, no less than publicly. Up to now, the growth roll out looks as if a meal served undercooked.

“You do not wish to take something however a fully-baked proposal to the presidents,” mentioned Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, a member of the four-person subcommittee that took two years formulating growth.  

By now, everybody’s received an angle or a requirement or a grievance. The timing definitely wasn’t the very best. The official 12-team proposal to the presidents got here June 22, the day after Alston vs. NCAA upended school athletics. A month later, Texas and Oklahoma left for the SEC, starting realignment.

How are you going to develop a playoff when you do not know what number of conferences there are going to be or who’s going to be in them?

“Sans pandemic, we’d have been doing this a yr in the past,” Thompson mentioned.

Would possibly as effectively add COVID-19, then, to the checklist of playoff issues.

Contributing to the uncertainty, the conferences have out of the blue change into extraordinarily self-aware of their leverage in growth. The vote to develop needs to be unanimous. Which means one vote can sink the entire enterprise. Instantly, there’s buzz about backpedaling to an eight-team bracket … or worse, staying at 4.

“We are able to preserve the 4 finest groups,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey advised Sports activities Illustrated. “As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, persistently, vocally, 4 has labored simply because it was meant.”

Yeah, however after the tease of 12 groups, staying with 4 could be a intestine punch.

This can be a course of that wants an arbitrator, not one other press launch.

The Huge Ten and Pac-12 are nonetheless placing up a battle over the Rose Bowl persevering with to be performed on Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET. By no means has there been a lot agitation over a parade and a beautiful sundown. The Jan. 1 date permits the Rose Parade to proceed as historically scheduled that morning. The sport naturally follows in what has been a seamless transition between the San Gabriel Mountains, sunny Southern California, and sure, the solar setting over the Granddaddy of ’em All on nationwide TV.

Greater than that, although, the conferences would favor a Rose Bowl populated with the normal Huge Ten and Pac-12 groups. That’s just about unimaginable in an expanded playoff until, one way or the other, the sport is performed outdoors the CFP with a second sport on the Rose Bowl presumably performed contained in the playoff bracket.

That is a longshot. The straightforward reply is permitting the Rose Bowl its date and time within the quarterfinals. That may be after the 4 first-round play-in video games. However the Rose would get the groups it could get.

Will the Huge Ten and Pac-12 maintain out till they get their manner?

“Individuals are going to need to compromise, let’s depart it at that,” Thompson mentioned particularly of the Rose Bowl scenario. He might have been talking of the growth course of basically.  

Identical for one unnamed convention which sources say is in favor of ESPN retaining the rights to the CFP. The overwhelming desire is for the following contract to be bid out to a number of networks to drive up the value. These a number of networks would televise the CFP a lot the identical manner the NFL sells its playoff rounds to completely different rightsholders.

Looks like good enterprise, proper? Sources inform CBS Sports activities there’s doubtlessly a holdout convention on the market that, in principle, might — with its vote — squash a profitable new contract whereas theoretically blocking an environment friendly finish to this gridlock.

Whether or not to host early playoff video games at campus websites or bowl websites has change into an enormous concern. As proposed, the 4 first-round play-in video games could be on campus. Presumably, the present New Yr’s Six bowls would host the quarterfinals and semifinals.

However why ought to 4 of the 12 groups — who do not get a bye — be given a house sport and nobody else? There was speak of these campus websites being utilized within the quarterfinals to reward the highest 4 seeds.

Then there’s the Group of 5, which wants its piece. Is there an incentive from the opposite leagues to award these conferences with something greater than the 22% of the income they presently cut up?

Let’s not neglect West Virginia president E. Gordon Gee, in August, summarizing the upheaval, proclaiming an expanded playoff was “on life help”. The colourful Gee is prone to say something at any time, however his phrases carry which means as a result of he has a vote.

The one factor we all know for positive: Finally, will probably be ironed out. There’s an excessive amount of cash in it for it to not be.

The opposite factor we all know for positive: There’s an excessive amount of cash up for grabs to be argued over.

The present CFP deal has 5 years left to run. The best way it was introduced, growth might have debuted as quickly as 2023. Why, then, is there this gnawing sense of foreboding whether or not it can occur in any respect? | Faculty Soccer Playoff growth on shaky floor as conferences appear unable to get on identical web page


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