Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the plans to expand the College Football Playoff to a 12-team field, and debate what impacts the expansion may have on the landscape of college sports.
DAN WETZEL: Well, we want to get to the College Football Playoff expansion. It's literally the biggest thing for the totality of the sport that has been decided in many, many, many years, even more than the four team playoff.
PAT FORDE: Oh, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: And of course, as we made fun of last time, they released it on a Friday afternoon, so nobody discussed--
ROSS DELLENGER: Holiday weekend before Week 1.
DAN WETZEL: So--
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Nobody talked about it. Mississippi State President Mark Keenum is the hero here for college sports. And it's college sports. It's not just football, because I think this has wide ranging implications. But he pushed that thing through, got it done. Can they do it by 2024? I don't know. Can they do it by 2026? Yes, they're going to. So huge deal.
Basic parameters, 12 teams, six automatic bids, the six highest rated conference champions. This is massive. Big 12, Pac 12, your champion is getting in, pretty much. Also, huge for the Group of Five. Somebody else is getting in with an automatic bid. Your Mountain West, your AAC, your Sun Belt, you have viability.
This is the only sport I ever heard of where essentially you started the season saying, I could win every single game and not win the championship, not even play for the championship.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, not even be considered.
DAN WETZEL: Six automatic bids. They will rank them, seed them the same way with the committee. We got to get our committee down there. We've got to get our show.
12 teams. 1, 2, 3, and 4 have to be conference champions. Notre Dame or any other independent cannot be one of the top four seeds. A little clunky, but who cares. They get a bye. 5, 6, 7, and 8 host first round playoff game. Going to be phenomenal. They host 9, 10, 11, and 12. That first weekend will be great, four great games on campus.
The winners of those then play 1, 2, 3, 4. Now, that, I like this plan. I like 12 better than 16, which I once proposed. Second round games are going to be at a Bowl site. None of us like that. But again, I we can discuss that in a second. I've got some clarity on why. I talked to a whole bunch of people in the last two days. What am I missing, Ross?
ROSS DELLENGER: Not much, man. You covered it all. I think the next step, right, is how can this be implemented early? And they'll get started on that this week. How can you implement in 2024 or 2025? It's going to be difficult, and they have only themselves to blame, right? Shocking. But in February or last fall, had they made this decision, since it was a proposal introduced 15 months ago, had they made the decision in February or last fall, they would have probably almost certainly been able to expand by 2024, certainly 2025. And now they've wasted basically 6 to 8 months.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, no. I think you covered most of it, Dan. A couple other things, a couple other ancillary benefits of this. People hate when star players opt out of Bowl games. I think you're going to see less of that. You've got more important games to play. Kenny Pickett would have played in the postseason for Pittsburgh last year as opposed to opting out of the Peach Bowl, because Pittsburgh would have been in the playoff.
I think, I hope other than Brian Kelly, this would slow down the exodus of coaches bailing on their teams at the end of the season. If you're making the playoff, you're going to stick with that team, right? And so maybe the whole coaching carousel slows down. Maybe this gets to what you have talked about several times, Dan, is pushing back the December signing day, changes change the calendar so that everything isn't piling up on top of itself in December and in January and screwing all this up as far as having a good, clean, maximum contested, maximum interest postseason, which I just think that everything will be amplified towards that and will improve over this just hodgepodge of half assed Bowls that surround a four team playoff.