In what has been a college football season filled with many unpredictable upsets as well as teams looking hot one week and cold the next, the call for an eight-team College Football Playoff has gotten louder and louder.
But that’s just simply not going to happen in the near future.
ESPN’s contract with the current format runs through 2025. So at the very least, that is the closest that you can even start to consider that possibility.
In the meantime, here’s what that would look like this season:
Just for fun. 8 team playoff
1. Clemson vs. 8 ND
2. Alabama vs. 7. Ohio St.
3. Michigan St. vs. 6 Stanford
4. Oklahoma vs. 5 Iowa
— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) December 10, 2015
There wasn’t much optimism for an eight team playoff in the near future. “I don’t want to say never,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said at the IMG/Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York City. “But I don’t think we’ll see it during the remaining years of the contract.”
At the forum, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey brought up some key issues that would come from playoff expansion, some worse than others.
For instance, and perhaps obviously, the calendar and schedule would be much different. Right now, football is a one-semester sport and the way it stands, Christmas does not interfere or become an issue in the current schedule.
There are bowls played on Christmas Eve, as well as the day after Christmas, but those aren’t the playoff, and that would be a different story. Because if you don’t extend the season into January, you would have to play more games in December.
While there seems that there would be an issue with college football becoming a two-semester sport, that is more of an excuse than a reason when you consider there are plenty of sports (that don’t generate that much money, if any) that go two semesters. If your cash cow is going to take two semesters, by all means.
Another gripe that has been expressed is that the traditional New Year’s bowls, Rose, Cotton, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar, would be before Christmas. Which would absolutely be strange, but so is Rutgers and Maryland being in the Big Ten or Syracuse and Pittsburgh being in the ACC.
It might seem weird at first, and might even seem disadvantageous, but Major League Baseball is a pretty good example of what happens to your game if there is no change for the better.
Also, conference championship games would probably not exist. That has to be a deal breaker. The NCAA makes too much money for those games, and would not give them away. But who knows, if it gave them another excuse to not pay players, they might take that risk.
There are a ton of pros and cons when it comes to possible playoff expansion but when it comes down to it, if there is more money to be made, it will happen. If there isn’t, it simply won’t.
Because it isn’t about the players and what’s best for the game, it’s about dollars.