A Dirty Dozen Teams: College Football Playoff Expansion on the Table

It has been a long time since my last post and we have a lot to catch up on (to say the least). There will be more to come, but let’s focus on a timely topic: the very real possibility of college football playoff expansion.

Last week, the College Football Playoff management committee issued a press release about its latest meetings where it stated that it had a working group exploring expanding the playoff with “some 63 possibilities for change. These included 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 16-team options, each with a variety of different scenarios.” While CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock had all of the standard disclaimers that there is still a 4-team playoff and the discussions are all exploratory, the fact that the CFP directly acknowledged all of this on its own indicated that the powers that be might have been further along in its talks than anyone could have imagined up to this point. Remember that conference commissioners were all publicly firm that the old BCS system wouldn’t change only weeks before the current CFP format was put into place and the party line until now has been a steadfast, “We have a 4-team playoff under a 12-year agreement and that’s not changing.” The powers that be in college football HATE talking about college football expansion, so unilaterally offering it up to the public that they’re discussing the issue isn’t just throwing out there for speculation.

Needless to say, this got me quite excited! I have been writing about college football playoff scenarios for as long as this blog has existed (and way before conference realignment really became such a huge focus here). My oldest post on this subject was a proposal in July 2006 to have an 8-team playoff with power conference auto-bids using traditional bowl matchups (such as always having the Big Ten and then-Pac-10 champs play in the Rose Bowl). All of these years later, that would personally still be my optimal playoff format. That 2006 post would need a few tweaks and updates to account for events that have occurred since that time, but all of the principles I wrote back then pretty much apply today.

Following up on that press release, The Athletic reported on Wednesday that college football playoff expansion discussions are indeed progressing along quickly. That in and of itself didn’t surprise. However, what did surprise me was what was revealed in the opening of the article:

Concerned that their four-team product has been harmed by the dominance of a select few teams from the same region, FBS commissioners are seriously considering expanding the College Football Playoff. And while it’s long been assumed that any change to the format would be modest, several influential decision-makers are suddenly open to a playoff system that skips past eight teams and into the double digits.

“I sense 12 teams is building support,” one Power 5 athletic director said.

12 teams?!

My initial reaction was, “WTF?!” I had it in my head that an 8-team playoff was the inevitable next step for so long that the thought of the system moving to 12 teams made my head feel like I just did a keg stand on a Slurpee machine. How could the powers that be that have inched along with playoff expansion for the last century suddenly zoom up to a 12-team playoff?

Taking a step back and thinking about it further, though, maybe the powers that be are (weirdly) seeing a 12-team playoff as a system that is closer to the status quo than an 8-team playoff. Consider the following:

(1) Many college football fans (myself included) have been so focused on whether to expand the 4-team playoff itself that we have generally neglected the fact that the overall CFP system consists of 12 teams competing in the New Year’s Six Bowls. Those 12 teams consist of the Power Five conference champs, the top Group of Five champ, and 6 other teams (at-larges and conference contract bids). Essentially, the powers that be could be viewing this as simply taking that existing field of teams (with the exception that the 6 “other teams” would all be at-larges based on merit) and turning it into a playoff.

(2) A 12-team playoff would presumably provide first round byes to the top 4 teams. This preserves the top 4 horse race that exists in the current CFP system (and goosing the ratings of those weekly CFP rankings release shows on ESPN) while expanding enough to allow for auto-bids for the Power Five conferences and the top Group of Five champ. That wouldn’t be the same in an 8-team playoff. This also alleviates concerns that Power Five schools that have clinched conference championship game berths might rest players in late season games (similar to NFL teams that have clinched playoff spots) and just bank on winning their conference championships. Putting in the carrot of a first round bye means that teams would be competing just as hard for a top 4 spot throughout the entire regular season. (Personally, one of the reasons why I have advocated for an 8-team playoff was to minimize the power of the CFP selection committee. If we end up with a 12-team playoff, the powers that be clearly aren’t as bothered by that issue as the ability to grant byes arguably gives the CFP selection committee more power than ever.)

I don’t know if I personally like the prospect of a 12-team playoff more than an 8-team playoff, but I’ll have to say that it’s growing on me. If that’s the size of field that’s required to have auto-bids for all of the Power Five conference (which I believe is a minimum requirement for any playoff expansion), then it works for me. To be sure, there are many other issues to examine over the coming months (not the least of which is what happens to the bowl system).

In any event, with colleges large and small getting squeezed with a double whammy of higher expenses and lower tuition and room and board revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, university presidents are likely far past the point where they can afford to pass up any opportunities to generate revenue regardless of past reservations. Expanding the College Football Playoff is simply one of the easiest ways out there for universities to instantly raise revenue, so it’s not a surprise that it is coming to forefront now.

(Image from Scarlet and Game)

294 thoughts on “A Dirty Dozen Teams: College Football Playoff Expansion on the Table

  1. Tyson

    I definitely DON’T like the idea of conference champions being locked into specific bowls, a la the Big 10/PAC 12 Rose Bowl….in any given year, those two conference champs might be the weakest of the 8 teams so why should either get what amounts to a favorable seeding preemptively every year? I love the expanded playoff but definitely want to see the teams seeded, 1-8

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  2. loki_the_bubba

    – Twelve team playoff
    – Unlimited free agency
    – Paying the players

    This is not the college football I grew up with. I’m not happy with NFL-lite.

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  3. Tyson

    Time for a Conference Realignment update, Frank. Seems like we’re closer to some TV contracts being up for renegotiation. As a Texas fan, I’m curious what Texas’ attitude will be once the LHN is no more–I am assuming it will not be renewed by ESPN. Your thoughts?

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      1. I have a lot of thoughts on this for the future, although it’s much more about possible movements at the Group of 5 level (such as the AAC and/or MWC consolidating and/or poaching each other) or FCS-to-FBS moves. The Southland defections for the WAC could certainly be related to the latter (or at least a hope/wish for the latter).

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    1. When I first started writing about conference realignment, I truly thought that Texas was looking to be among its institutional peers. That led me to argue that there ought to be mutual interest between them and the Big Ten initially and I honestly thought that the original Pac-16 proposal (where the then-Pac-10 would have added Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado) was the best reasonably possible conference move that they could have ever hoped for.

      Now, though, I see Texas in a different light. Their control over the Big 12 is akin to being a financial independent that has its own conference, which is something that the Longhorns can’t get anywhere else. So, I’m much more skeptical about a Texas move regardless of what happens with the LHN.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, Notre Dame wants everyone to get off of its lawn, while Texas likes having the worker bees in Waco and Lubbock take care of its lawn.

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  4. Mike

    Ahhh. A post with out thousands of comments.

    My issues with playoff expansion:

    1. I am not comfortable with continually asking for more from a bunch of unpaid college students. A conference champ could be playing this schedule: 12 regular season, conference championship, round of 12, round of 8, round of 4, NC game. 17 total games is a lot to ask.

    2. Conference championship games become a hinderance. Lets say there are two teams ranked #1 and #2 in the same division. The loser of the game between the two, has a very good chance to get a bye in the playoff (especially if the game is earlier in the year) effectively giving the losing team a double bye (no CCG, no round of 12). That’s a pretty nice conciliation prize. Yes, you can make a rule that only conference champions are eligible for byes. If so, the Big 12 should drop their game.

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    1. I think point #1 is valid, although it may end up being moot if/when those students will turn out to be paid (either via third parties with Name, Image and Likeness compensation or directly from the schools depending on court cases and legislation). It’s interesting that The Athletic article interviewed some NFL agents and they were universal that players would be quite happy and motivated to play in those playoff games even with the risk of injury. It’s the exhibition bowl games and non-competitive payday home games that aren’t appealing to players.

      For point #2, I can see where having the top 2 teams in the same division could cause that concern, but it’s such a specific exception that I can’t see how that would drive the overall policy. That’s an interesting point about making only conference champions eligible for byes, but that gets into the real problem (whether college football fans like it or not) of how to treat Notre Dame as an independent. My feeling has always been that ND shouldn’t receive special treatment, but it also can’t receive negative treatment, either. Likewise, an at-large conference team shouldn’t be receiving special or negative treatment compared to ND. So, my guess is that the CFP would take the same approach with first round byes as they have done with the current 4-team playoff field: it’s going to be whoever they think is the best 4 without any conference champ requirements or quotas.

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      1. Mike

        @Frank –

        In the eight playoffs we’ve had so far, a non division champion has made the playoff twice* with a possibility of three other times. Regardless, I would like to see some advantage attached to being a conference champion instead of it being a hinderance. As far as Notre Dame goes, I guess it depends on the perspective. Is ND advantaged by not having to play in a CCG so having them play in a round of 12 game is more fair?

        *2016 & 2017. In 2018 Auburn’s upset of Alabama (probably) prevented it from happening again. You could make a case for 2015 Ohio St (yes they were ranked #7 but there were a ton of one loss teams that year), and 2020 Texas A&M could have been non-division champ playoff teams.

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  5. Brian

    Old bowl system > BCS > CFP > 8 teams > 12 teams > 16 teams for me. Clearly I am no longer the target audience for CFB, though I’m pretty sure my alma mater still wants my donations. At what point (if ever) does increased TV money lose out to lost donations and more tenuous alumni relations?

    I don’t watch the CFP now, even when OSU is in it. I’ll be even less interested in an expanded field. March Madness has greatly devalued the MBB regular season, and this will do the same for CFB. Autobids will remove the impetus for tough OOC games. Seeing 8 southeastern teams in a 12-team playoff will just further erode the national fan base, as will seeing all the games played in the south and west.

    Good to see you back Frank. Please stick around a while this time.

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    1. Great to be back, Brian!

      To be fair, I wonder if auto-bids would actually have the opposite effect and end up encouraging tougher OOC games. Under the current system, there is still an outsized punishment for even a “good loss” compared to taking an easy win. The playoff at-large field would also seem to encourage better non-conference scheduling. While I understand the consternation of the March Madness effect on the basketball regular season (even though I personally believe that an 8-team or 12-team playoff would enhance the competitiveness of the regular season than detract from it), the one thing that the NCAA Tournament *does* encourage and clearly reward is aggressive non-conference scheduling.

      Here’s the thing: if you’re an Alabama or Ohio State fan, then the traditionalist thinking that “the regular season *is* the playoff” is much stronger. Their fans have always been in the heat of a playoff race every year. For the plebeians of college football, though (like my Illini), that has never been the case. 95% of college football is effectively eliminated from playoff competition by the end of September… and it’s just not sustainable to have 95% of teams eliminated from the national conversation so early going forward. So, a playoff where (at a minimum) there are auto-bids for the Power 5 champs at least gives the *hope* for all of those teams to make it to the playoff… even if it still ends up being Alabama/Ohio State/Clemson in the end again. Granting just 1 Group of Five champ a spot gives all of those teams similar hope, too (even if it’s essentially lottery odds to win that spot). That’s why most of us watch sports in the first place: we just want to see *our* teams have a *chance* for the championship (even if the odds are against them winning it in any particular year).

      The NFL understands one thing very well: what drives interest in their core product is the playoff RACE. Who actually makes the playoff is almost besides the point. If *your* team is in the playoff *race* late into the season, then that drives interest in both your own team plus the sport overall. I’m not saying that the Bears deserved to be in the NFL playoffs last year as an 8-8 team, but you can be sure that I (along with the rest of Chicago) watched every single terrible Mitch Trubisky pass to the bitter end along with all of the NFL games that involved wild card contenders because of that playoff race (and you can replicate that for every other similarly situated team).

      Despite being a historically regional sport, the college football playoff system has paradoxically been disproportionately reliant on a handful of national brands. Only a small handful of fans are actually watching *their* team (not their conference or just a general fan) in the playoff race in any given year… and that’s honestly a big gaping market that college football isn’t filling right now.

      I think it would take much less than an NCAA Tournament-esque playoff to fill that market. 8 teams with Power 5 auto-bids and Group of 5 spot would be clearly enough for me without detracting anything from the regular season. My only surprise is the thought that the powers that be could skip an 8-team playoff and go directly to 12 teams.

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      1. Brian

        Frank the Tank,

        To be fair, I wonder if auto-bids would actually have the opposite effect and end up encouraging tougher OOC games.

        I’ve heard this argument, but I don’t buy it. It was supposed to be true now, but the penalty for a loss is so high it’s not worth the risk. The same will remain true as long as the committee is ranking the field. They only reward OOC risk as a tie-breaker (if both teams have the OOC loss, for example), and beating a cupcake to improve your record is worth more.

        … the one thing that the NCAA Tournament *does* encourage and clearly reward is aggressive non-conference scheduling.

        MBB plays > 30 games and rarely does anyone go undefeated. CFB teams go 13-0 on a regular basis. A 2-loss team has never made the CFP while I doubt a 2-loss team ever missed the tourney. The reward for risk differs.

        The top 33+ teams, plus autobids, get into the tourney. Even at 12 teams, that’s less than 10% of I-A and less than 20% of the P5.

        … 95% of college football is effectively eliminated from playoff competition by the end of September… and it’s just not sustainable to have 95% of teams eliminated from the national conversation so early going forward. So, a playoff where (at a minimum) there are auto-bids for the Power 5 champs at least gives the *hope* for all of those teams to make it to the playoff

        That has always been true (at least since 1900), yet the sport has done just fine. And an expanded playoff doesn’t really change that. IL fans used to hope for the Rose Bowl and occasionally got there. The old bowl system fixes the issue. The only teams eliminated are those that can’t get to 6 wins, and no playoff format will help them.

        Maybe expansion gives G5 teams a little hope, but only until it’s clear they can’t go 11-1. They know they won’t get picked, so they have to be the top G5. And even then they know AL or Clemson will destroy them.

        The NFL understands one thing very well: what drives interest in their core product is the playoff RACE.

        That’s a funny way to spell “gambling.” Take away all forms of gambling (incl. fantasy) and half the NFL fan base disappears.

        And the RACE has never attracted my interest back to the NFL. Maybe it was all those years with teams that had zero chance, but only 3-5 teams have any shot in a given year anyway. Everyone else is playing for a chance to lose in the playoffs.

        And most importantly, the NFL is nominally 32 teams of equals. The talent disparity in CFB is much, much greater so most teams know they don’t have a chance at the title from day one.

        Despite being a historically regional sport, the college football playoff system has paradoxically been disproportionately reliant on a handful of national brands.

        It always has – the blue bloods of any era have always dominated. The regional aspect is why the old major bowls worked – my regional champ against yours every year.

        Only a small handful of fans are actually watching *their* team (not their conference or just a general fan) in the playoff race in any given year… and that’s honestly a big gaping market that college football isn’t filling right now.

        I don’t think TV numbers support that working for CFB. The big names draw ratings, especially when they play each other. No other games draw big numbers.

        8 teams with Power 5 auto-bids and Group of 5 spot would be clearly enough for me without detracting anything from the regular season

        And on what day of the season would you stop believing IL had a chance at the title? And how many years of a committee putting 3 SEC teams into the playoff would it take to kill fan interest again?

        My only surprise is the thought that the powers that be could skip an 8-team playoff and go directly to 12 teams.

        I’ll believe it when I see it. I haven’t seen a single president voice approval for going to 12 (or more) and extending the season. The ADs and conferences might be willing, but will the academics?

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        1. The big difference in an expanded playoff with Power Five auto-bids would be that the day of the season when I would stop believing that Illinois had a chance at the title would be the day that they’re mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten West Division race. Maybe that day might end up being in October in many years, but at least it won’t be September! We could say that about any other school in the Power Five in a system that provides auto-bids: they are truly still in the race until the day that they are mathematically eliminated from being able to participate in their conference championship game. Most schools may still never get to that conference championship game, but it’s at least a concrete and objective on-the-field elimination as opposed to a subjective committee ranking elimination due to a random September loss. I think it’s a *huge* psychological difference with watching a team that’s still *mathematically* in the hunt versus an amorphous goal like a non-playoff bowl berth. Being in the hunt drives interest in your own team plus all other games that may impact your team in the standings.

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          1. Brian

            Frank the Tank,

            The big difference in an expanded playoff with Power Five auto-bids would be that the day of the season when I would stop believing that Illinois had a chance at the title would be the day that they’re mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten West Division race. Maybe that day might end up being in October in many years, but at least it won’t be September!

            If there are autobids, which is not guaranteed. With CCGs, it brings up the chance of an 8-5 champ getting in while 12-1 G5 champs get left out. That may be fine for the NFL where half the teams make the playoff, but probably not in CFB where 12 teams would be < 10% of the teams. Autobids mean fewer slots available for the SEC, so both they and ESPN will fight it.

            And not being mathematically eliminated isn't the same as truly believing your team has a real shot at it. Think the NFL – when did Jags fans believe they were out of it?

            Most schools may still never get to that conference championship game, but it’s at least a concrete and objective on-the-field elimination as opposed to a subjective committee ranking elimination due to a random September loss.

            But the subjective rankings still impact seeding (and byes) and which G5 champ makes it. So the G5s still don’t get the benefit of this.

            I think it’s a *huge* psychological difference with watching a team that’s still *mathematically* in the hunt versus an amorphous goal like a non-playoff bowl berth.

            Maybe, but a bowl berth is a goal you can chase much longer in the season and much more realistically even if your team is only average. And I really don’t hear most fans of average P5 teams truly believing they can win their conference by mid-October. They aren’t eliminated mathematically, but after 3-4 games most fans have a good idea of what level of team they have and adjust their goals appropriately. There is much more focus on winning the next game and hoping your rivals lose.

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  6. Alan from Baton Rouge

    I’m assuming a 12 team playoff would looks like this using the 2020 final rankings as an example.

    Opening round on campus of higher seed on January 1
    #9 Georgia at #8 Cincy
    #12 (25) Oregon at #5 Texas A&M (Coastal Carolina was #12, but I’m assuming the P-12 would get an automatic bid)
    #10 Iowa State at #7 Florida
    #11 Indiana at #6 Oklahoma

    Quarterfinals at the 4 non-semi NY-6 Bowls on January 9
    Peach – #1 Alabama v 8/9 winner
    Fiesta – #4 Notre Dame v 5/12 winner
    Cotton – #3 Ohio State v 6/11 winner
    Orange – #2 Clemson v 7/10 winner

    Semifinals at Sugar and Rose (relocated to Arlington, TX) on January 16

    CFP Championship game in Miami on January 25

    I would assume during a “regular” regular season, the opening round would take place the week after the conference championship games, with the quarterfinals taking place on NYE/NYD, the semifinals taking place at least one week later, with the CFP championship taking place on the Monday a week after the semifinals.

    Participants in the Championship game could play up to 17 games.

    Breakdown by conference:
    SEC (4) #1 Alabama, #5 Texas A&M, #7 Florida, #9 Georgia
    B-12 (2) #6 Oklahoma, #10 Iowa State
    B1G (2) #3 Ohio State, #11 Indiana
    ACC (2) #2 Clemson, #3 Notre Dame
    Pac 12 (1) #25 Oregon
    AAC (1) #8 Cincy

    The obvious downside is travel for fans. Also, the players would be playing the equivalent of an regular NFL season.

    An upside would be renewed interest in the non-semifinal NY-6 games, since they will all mean something. I attended the Fiesta Bowl in 2019. LSU and UCF were well represented, but the locals could have cared less. I’ve seen that with the Sugar as well. After 20+ years of sellouts, the first non-sellout in a Peach Bowl occurred after they were “elevated” to major bowl status with the NY-6.

    The big losers would be the Citrus, Alamo and other minor bowls that do have local interest.

    Rematches would become the norm. I obviously don’t like rematches. See the 2011 season for reference.

    I think you could keep all the NY-6 Bowls happy with an eight team playoff.

    The added TV money would more than make up for any minor inconveniences I described above.

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    1. That’s one thing that’s hard to get a handle on with this 12-team playoff proposal: how does it work with the bowls… if does at all?

      An 8-team playoff could be pretty seamlessly be incorporated into the current bowl system (whether they use traditional matchups like I’ve suggested or a straight seeding process). That would actually be better for the bowls than the CFP format where the matchups just aren’t attractive and/or have no real stakes.

      On the other hand, the 12-team playoff proposal seems to indicate that the powers that be don’t care about the bowls (or at least as much as they used to). I would think that the first round, at a minimum, would need to take place outside of the bowl structure and earlier in December. That automatically eliminates 4 elite teams that would have otherwise been valuable bowl participants. If they have the semifinal round in December, too, then that totally blows up the top level of the bowl system.

      One format that I think would work is having the first round at home field sites, use the bowls for the quarterfinals with the top 4 getting their natural preference for a bowl site (e.g. the Big Ten champ goes to the Rose Bowl, the SEC champ goes to the Sugar Bowl, etc.), and then have non-bowl neutral sites for the semifinals and championship game. Similar to the NFL playoffs, I’d actually re-seed after each round as opposed to having a straight bracket (so the #1 seed would play the lowest ranked first round winner).

      Applying last year’s rankings and assuming a non-pandemic year (meaning the Rose Bowl would be in its rightful place in Pasadena), the first two rounds of the playoff would turn out this way:

      FIRST ROUND
      #9 Georgia (at-large) at #8 Cincinnati (top Group of 5 champ)
      #25 Oregon (Pac-12 champ) at #5 Texas A&M (at-large)
      #10 Iowa State (at-large) at #7 Florida (at-large)
      #11 Indiana (at-large) at #6 Oklahoma (at-large)

      QUARTERFINALS
      Sugar Bowl: #1 Alabama (SEC champ) vs. 4th ranked Round 1 winner
      Orange Bowl: #2 Clemson (ACC champ) vs. 3rd ranked Round 1 winner
      Rose Bowl: #3 Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. 2nd ranked Round 1 winner
      Fiesta Bowl: #4 Notre Dame (at-large) vs. 1st ranked Round 1 winner

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      1. Applying this same format to 2019:

        FIRST ROUND
        #9 Florida (at-large) at #8 Wisconsin (top Group of 5 champ)
        #17 Memphis (top Group of 5 champ) at #5 Georgia (at-large)
        #10 Penn State (at-large) at #7 Baylor (at-large)
        #11 Utah (at-large) at #6 Oregon (Pac-12 champ)

        QUARTERFINALS
        Sugar Bowl: #1 LSU (SEC champ) vs. 4th ranked Round 1 winner
        Orange Bowl: #3 Clemson (ACC champ) vs. 2nd ranked Round 1 winner
        Rose Bowl: #2 Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. 3rd ranked Round 1 winner
        Fiesta Bowl: #4 Oklahoma (Big 12 champ) vs. 1st ranked Round 1 winner

        This scenario brings up the rematch risk Alan noted where Utah would be playing at Oregon, which would’ve been even worse in practicality since it would be a rematch of the 2019 Pac-12 Championship Game that they would have just played.

        That makes me think that there needs to be some guidelines similar to the NCAA Tournament to prevent rematches or intra-conference matchups in at least the first round. The CFP committee could swap Penn State and Utah, for instance… or just release the rankings to fit their intended bracket (call Utah #10 and Penn State #11) as opposed to other way around.

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    2. Brian

      Alan from Baton Rouge,

      Opening round on campus of higher seed on January 1

      I’ll believe the SEC (and ACC) is willing to come north in winter when I see it. They actively fought home games so far.

      I would assume during a “regular” regular season, the opening round would take place the week after the conference championship games, with the quarterfinals taking place on NYE/NYD, the semifinals taking place at least one week later, with the CFP championship taking place on the Monday a week after the semifinals.

      I disagree. That is Army-Navy day. I think they start right when bowl season does (around 12/17ish) so the players get some recovery time post-CCG.

      Breakdown by conference:
      SEC (4) #1 Alabama, #5 Texas A&M, #7 Florida, #9 Georgia

      And won’t America just be thrilled to see that every year.

      The obvious downside is travel for fans. Also, the players would be playing the equivalent of an regular NFL season.

      And loss of interest in the regular season. And more disgust at the pro-SEC bias of ESPN and the committee. And doing all this just to see AL play in the title game every year anyway.

      An upside would be renewed interest in the non-semifinal NY-6 games, since they will all mean something.

      They meant more in the old bowl system than they ever will again. And the renewed interest will be on TV, not in traveling for 5 post-season games (CCG + 4 in playoff).

      I attended the Fiesta Bowl in 2019. LSU and UCF were well represented, but the locals could have cared less. I’ve seen that with the Sugar as well. After 20+ years of sellouts, the first non-sellout in a Peach Bowl occurred after they were “elevated” to major bowl status with the NY-6.

      Locals don’t care about playoff games their teams aren’t in, either. They want the money and maybe to see the spectacle, but that gets old if you hose every year.

      I think you could keep all the NY-6 Bowls happy with an eight team playoff.

      Or by returning to the old bowl system, where their games truly mattered.

      The added TV money would more than make up for any minor inconveniences I described above.

      Would it? You get diminishing returns as you expand a playoff. And they’d have to share it out with everyone in G5, so it would get diluted pretty quickly.

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  7. davidpsu

    I wish we would return to the old traditional Bowl system with Conference tie-ins. An 8-team playoff can use the winners of 8 top bowl games. You get both: the traditional bowl system AND a true national champion.

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  8. I still favor an 8-team playoff with auto-bids to Power 5 champs + any undefeated G5s (you can require they are at least T-25 to prevent schedule shenanigans). Seed them 1-8 and ignore current tie-ins.

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  9. Mike

    Last years end of year late scheduled game had me thinking of a way to make playoffs within the conference structure. I think it would make for more interest for every team by keeping more teams in the running later in the year.

    Today each Big Ten conference team plays nine games. Six division games and three cross overs with all games counting in the division standings. This leads to some inequitable scheduling within the divisions as some teams have five home games and others have four. My proposal is to include a four team (top 2 in each division) Big Ten playoff using the last week of the regular season as the final four while the other teams play late scheduled games.

    It would look like this: Six division games plus two cross overs. The last week of the year the top two teams (E1 vs W2, E2 vs W1) in each division play (west hosts in even years, east in odd) for the right to play in the CCG. The other ten teams play in conference designated match ups (west hosts in even years, east in odd) that could serve any number of goals*.

    This format increases the likelihood of the two best teams in the conference playin the the CCG. There will be some adjustments to traditions, but this is pretty doable. An eight team bracket is possible by getting rid of another cross over, but odds of rematches go way up.

    *Help ensure each team plays the other every four years, maximize bowl teams by having a 5-6 teams play 1-10 teams, best TV games, whatever floats your boat.

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    1. Brian

      Mike,

      It would look like this: Six division games plus two cross overs. The last week of the year the top two teams (E1 vs W2, E2 vs W1) in each division play (west hosts in even years, east in odd) for the right to play in the CCG.

      I think current NCAA rules prohibit this. The CCG must pair the two division winners. You could still schedule the way you suggest, but you risk a repeat the following week about 50% of the time. That’s one reason they try to avoid crossover games in the final week now. You’d also displace all the rivalries that are usually played that final weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mike

        @Brian –

        I agree its probably against the rules now. My hope would be that this format would be used instead of the top two best record “divisionless” format that gets thrown around every once in a while to improve CFP access. Unfortunately, a 12 team CFP with out an autobid limits this plan’s usefulness. However it would be neat to see a Cinderrella run from a team that stars slow (Wisconsin, Northwestern have started slow in the past). As far as rivalry week goes, move it back to the Big Ten’s traditional pre-Thanksgiving weekend. Nebraska would lose is permanent black Friday opponent, but still could play on that day during non Big Ten playoff years.

        Like

    1. @Mike – It tracks what I’ve seen locally in the Chicago area. The outflow to places like Florida and Arizona has been normal for this region for years, so the pandemic accelerated some of those moves. However, the biggest real change has been intra-region movement with the suburbs becoming a hot housing market again, which is a reverse of the past several years where the city has been the stronger real estate market. This has been driven by Millennial families that had stayed in the city longer than prior generations but were finally pushed by the pandemic to seek out more space in the suburbs. (To be sure, I always thought this would eventually happen. It just that I didn’t predict that the tipping point would a global pandemic.)

      Also, I think the collective experience of mass remote work over the past year has taught most companies and people that it works well. Prior to the pandemic, I was already working about 50% remote and was actually quite surprised/naive about how many workplaces were still so tethered to a physical office for tasks that could be easily done anywhere with a laptop, cellphone and Internet connection. There are of course outliers that see remote work as negative, but by and large, there are few things that make people happier than the lack of a commute. Anyone that thinks that we’ll just revert to normal commuting patterns and people will go back to the office 5 days per week is fooling themselves (and short of working for a superstar FAANG company, talent will leave for more flexible competitors if companies go back to insisting upon it).

      As a result, I think you’re going to see a large re-sorting of people who actually want to live in a place for the place itself (e.g. those that can’t imagine living anywhere other than Manhattan) and those that were living in a particular place simply because of a job. The latter group has a lot more freedom now.

      Note that it seems to be fast-growing secondary cities (such as Sacramento, Austin and Nashville) and those with a lot of natural amenities that still have good shopping/restaurant options (such as beach and mountain towns) that are getting the lion’s share of out-of-region moves. I’ve seen some arguments that remote workforces could end up revitalizing rural areas, but I don’t buy that at all. What we’re seeing is that remote workers generally still want city/suburb-type amenities in a lower cost of living area and/or better weather and/or natural amenities.

      Like

      1. Mike

        @Frank –


        Also, I think the collective experience of mass remote work over the past year has taught most companies and people that it works well.

        I used to work for a Fortune 500 company that in late 2019 laid off all of its remote employees in hopes of increasing collaboration by having their teams physically together. Their plan now is to allow remote work for all employees. Amazing 180 in a little over a year.


        Note that it seems to be fast-growing secondary cities (such as Sacramento, Austin and Nashville) and those with a lot of natural amenities that still have good shopping/restaurant options (such as beach and mountain towns) that are getting the lion’s share of out-of-region moves. I’ve seen some arguments that remote workforces could end up revitalizing rural areas, but I don’t buy that at all. What we’re seeing is that remote workers generally still want city/suburb-type amenities in a lower cost of living area and/or better weather and/or natural amenities.

        I don’t see it revitalizing rural areas either. Bedroom communities maybe, but I don’t see a large amounts of white collar workers moving to isolated farming towns. I do think beach and mountain towns are going to price out a lot families if they haven’t already. The fast growing towns like Austin are starting to do it too. Just browsing around Zillow, 500K doesn’t get you a lot in Austin which surprised me since there isn’t a lot of natural barriers to prevent sprawl. I wonder if we’ll start to see the larger college towns (“big” cities but < 1 million) start to show up in these maps. College towns can provide a lot of amenities (top tier sports, Arts) with good overall quality of life. Just grabbing this from livability.com with the caveat I don't know how reputable it is.

        1. Ft. Collins (Colorado St)
        2. Ann Arbor (Michigan)
        3. Madison (Wisconsin)
        11. Columbus (Ohio St)
        12. Lincoln (Nebraska)
        15. Ames (Iowa St)
        17. Lawrence (Kansas)
        19. Corvalis (Oregon St)
        20. Iowa City (Iowa)

        https://livability.com/list/top-100-best-places-to-live/2020

        Like

  10. Eric

    I have always preferred smaller and hate idea of 12. Guess Ill get used to it but better find a way to keep Rose Bowl more important in it.

    In the end, guessing BCS (for all people hated it) will actually have been my favorite system

    Like

  11. Jersey Bernie

    This is pretty much for Frank and other Illini fans, with a commentary on the state of Rutgers.

    First welcome back, Frank.

    Now, Arthur Sitkowski has transferred from Rutgers to Illinois. I think that very few Rutgers fans will miss him. Not that he was a bad guy or a troublemaker. He was not. He seemed like a perfectly fine kid.

    Unfortunately the highlight of his football career might have been his sophomore year in high school in Old Bridge, NJ. He was eventually rated as a four star top 100 player and transferred to IMG in FL for his senior year. He then lost the starting job as QB at IMG.

    I know that IMG recruits great players, but a 4 star talent would expect to start as a senior in high school. By the time that he graduated he was still a high three and had loads of major offers including places like tOSU, Michigan, Miami, LSU, Florida, etc. He decided to some home to NJ and went to RU. And he definitely got his chance to play.

    When he did come to RU, lots of fans were excited by looking at the list of schools that he turned down, and he was still a very high 3 star. Personally, I wondered about the excitement since he lost his high school starting job (and it was not to a superstar QB). I think that the kid who beat him out a IMG wound up being a walk on at Minnesota.

    Sadly at RU he seemed to throw more picks than TDs. Was that partly because he was on a lousy team – yes. Did he help make that team worse – yes. Was poor QB play a major issue? Yes.

    It became clear pretty quickly that Sitkowski was there, but at all times the issue became who was going to replace him. Which transfer would come in and take his job.

    He did play a couple of good games last year when the starter, Noah Verdal, was injured. Now Rutgers has recruited sold 4 star Gavin Wimsatt, who is the number 1 player in KY, and the number 3 rated Dual QB by 247sports. He actually will be the highest rated QB ever signed by Rutgers.

    (Unless you include Ozzie Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet 1950s TV show fame and father of singer Ricky Nelson, who was a RU QB many years ago – and no just kidding, he was not any good and there were no QB ratings in the 1950s).

    (Arguably Rutger’s best football player ever was Paul Robeson, Class of 1919, who was the son of runaway slaves and the third black student ever at Rutgers. He was a two time All American, Phi Beta Kapp, and valedictorian of his class. He spoke 20 languages and earned 15 varsity letters at Rutgers. He was a very famous actor and singer, who eventually was blacklisted as a Communist.)

    Assuming that Wimsatt eventually signs, everyone knows that Verdal will start and Wimsatt will be the likely backup (or maybe during the season, Wimsatt will become starter).

    Made sense for Sitkowski to move on. He may still have 3 years of eligibility (at least 2) . He played a couple of games and then redshirted the year that it was announced that Schiano was coming back to Rutgers and, of course, last year was a free year, so he may have most of his career in front of him. Maybe a change of scenery will help.

    On another sort of related front, Rutgers seems to be reaching mediocrity in many sports in the B1G. Both basketball teams made the NCAAs. Secondary sports such as lacrosse, soccer, wrestling and others are now competitive in the B1G. The womans’ lacrosse team is now in the B1G tournament semi-final and the womans’ soccer team is the second round of the NCAAs. Even the baseball team is winning games.

    Early in the recruiting season, it looks as though Schiano may be putting together the best football class in years. Top 20 recruiting team? Maybe top 25 to 30 very likely. For RU that is a definite upgrade and Schiano does seems to get one or two very good transfer every year.

    Another very Rutgers oriented comment. Sports writers in NJ were really surprised when RU did not at all go after Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano. He is going to Washington State.

    I certainly was not surprised to see no interest from RU, since I would imagine that most RU fans would have been really unhappy to see him recruited at this point. He is from NJ and as a prospect, he was rated by 247sports as the 1 rated Dual QB the country and the number 2 prospect in NJ. His father holds (or held anyway) the all time career receiving records at Rutgers.

    Everyone “knew” that Jarrett was going to come to daddy’s alma mater and be the star QB that Rutgers was seeking. It was also “expected” that when the superstar QB committed other top NJ recruits would come with him.

    Well it was really a shock when he announced Tennessee. Of course, he has now been run out of town at Tennessee on the proverbial rail. He reached the point where he was regularly booed by Tenn fans. To say that his career in Knoxville did not go well might be an understatement. Possibly worse than Sitkowski at Rutgers, because expectations for the top rate Dual QB in the country were pretty darn high.

    Though local sportswriters do not seem to understand, there was no desire among RU fans to see if the team could help Jarett salvage his college career.

    Like

    1. @Mike – The TNF games were rough for the over-the-air network partners since they were non-exclusive simulcasts with the NFL Network. As a result, they were large money losers for the OTA networks (and why they were passed around like a doobie from CBS to NBC to Fox even in a world where the NFL is TV’s most valuable product by huge margin).

      My understanding is that the Amazon package consists of exclusive games for streaming nationally with the only linear TV being on in the local participating teams’ markets for each game. So, the exclusivity that Amazon is getting is quite a bit different (and much more valuable) compared to the Fox/NFL Network simulcast deal.

      Like

  12. Sports Illustrated had a follow-up article on college football playoff expansion:

    https://www.si.com/college/2021/05/03/college-football-playoff-expansion-discussions-underway

    My impressions:

    (1) Support for an expanded playoff is very broad with 8 out of the 11 voting members of the CFP committee already being on the record as wanting or opening up to it (and my guess is that the 3 that won’t go on the record are more concerned about the details instead of being opposed to an expanded playoff in and of itself).

    (2) A unanimous vote of all CFP committee members is required, so the specific details of an expanded playoff are really where the fight is going to be (as opposed to whether an expanded playoff happens at all).

    (3) Support for auto-bids for the Power 5 champs and the top Group of 5 champ seems broad. I’ll reiterate that I’d be shocked if playoff expansion happens without P5 champ auto-bids in place in a minimum.

    (4) Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick was on the working group for playoff proposals. Also note that ND has its own vote on the CFP committee… and further note above that a unanimous vote is required to pass anything… which means that ND *alone* can veto any playoff system. So, we can assume that any playoff proposal that eliminates or disproportionately punishes independents/at-larges is DOA. No one is “sticking it to Notre Dame” with any system – they are directly crafting this expanded playoff AND have a vote equal to the entire freaking Big Ten (much less a G5 conference).

    (5) The working group seems aligned on wanting on-campus sites for the first round of the playoff. Granted, the working group didn’t include either the Big Ten or Pac-12, who have the most important and valuable bowl relationship with the Rose Bowl.

    (6) Shortening the regular season is a non-starter. We might see the current Week 0 become the new Week 1 for everyone and/or the conference championship games pushed up to Thanksgiving weekend. Otherwise, the expanded playoff would be purely additive to the current system.

    (7) As much as there was buzz about a 12-team playoff last week, reading between the lines, it looks like an 8-team playoff is the closest thing to a consensus. Some people might like 6 teams and others might like 12 teams, but it seems as though everyone can at least live with 8 teams.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Frank the Tank,

      My impressions:

      (1) Support for an expanded playoff is very broad

      With no details, that’s easy to do. Once details start coming out, then individual constituencies start complaining.

      (2) A unanimous vote of all CFP committee members is required, so the specific details of an expanded playoff are really where the fight is going to be (as opposed to whether an expanded playoff happens at all).

      Exactly. And what’s good for the G5 or ND may not be good for the SEC or ACC.

      (3) Support for auto-bids for the Power 5 champs and the top Group of 5 champ seems broad. I’ll reiterate that I’d be shocked if playoff expansion happens without P5 champ auto-bids in place in a minimum.

      I think this ties back to #1. We know the SEC has fought against this before. More than P5 autobids, I think the G5 autobid is the biggest lock. Without that the G5 members will not approve the plan unless they get a huge pay increase.

      (4) … which means that ND *alone* can veto any playoff system. So, we can assume that any playoff proposal that eliminates or disproportionately punishes independents/at-larges is DOA. No one is “sticking it to Notre Dame” with any system – they are directly crafting this expanded playoff AND have a vote equal to the entire freaking Big Ten (much less a G5 conference).

      When has ND ever been punished by CFB? The fans want to see it because it’s always the opposite, ND gets special treatment above and beyond any other team. Like having their own vote on the CFP, or their own guaranteed CFP payout no matter how bad they suck, or their own TV deal.

      (5) The working group seems aligned on wanting on-campus sites for the first round of the playoff. Granted, the working group didn’t include either the Big Ten or Pac-12, who have the most important and valuable bowl relationship with the Rose Bowl.

      We know the SEC has fought against this before. Eventually the CFP will play the player safety card and say the risk of concussions from frozen fields up north is too great. Since not every school can guarantee a safe surface, none will be allowed to host. Maybe the northern schools can get approval for local domes (Indy/MSP/Detroit).

      (6) Shortening the regular season is a non-starter. We might see the current Week 0 become the new Week 1 for everyone and/or the conference championship games pushed up to Thanksgiving weekend. Otherwise, the expanded playoff would be purely additive to the current system.

      So many schools out west and down south already have heat stroke issues in the early games, plus I don’t think the presidents want to start earlier. Adding a round in mid-December seems most plausible.

      (7) As much as there was buzz about a 12-team playoff last week, reading between the lines, it looks like an 8-team playoff is the closest thing to a consensus. Some people might like 6 teams and others might like 12 teams, but it seems as though everyone can at least live with 8 teams.

      I’m still waiting to see any presidents chime in. The CFP can vote however they want. The presidents have the final say.

      Like

  13. Marc

    The latest SI article suggests that campus sites for the first round are practically a done deal. That surprised me.

    When the current playoff was being negotiated, there was a comment that some of the northern stadiums are not winterized. Michigan and Ohio State have hosted hockey games in winter, but most CFB stadiums are not used after Thanksgiving. I could easily see problems like pipes freezing over, underheated (or unheated) dressing rooms, and so forth.

    And to echo what @Brian said, I would be shocked if SEC signs up for the potential of playing in a blizzard or temps in the single digits. There are probably kids on those SEC teams that have never seen that kind of weather, much less played in it.

    Like

    1. @Marc – It actually wouldn’t shock me if the SEC has so much hubris that they can’t fathom that their champ would ever be traveling on the road for a playoff game. From what I’ve seen, the SEC seems to have long been much more open to first round games on campus. It’s actually the Big Ten that has much more invested in the bowl system, which makes sense: the Big Ten and Pac-12 have the Rose Bowl relationship, which is something that no one else has here. To be honest, I think that the Big Ten/Pac-12/Rose Bowl alliance is the only reason why we’re using the bowls for the semifinals in today’s 4-team CFP format. The bowl system for the SEC is largely transactional – if they can get a better deal with on-campus games, then I don’t think they’d care. The Big Ten and Pac-12 are really the only conferences that are giving anything up if the bowl system is further weakened because the Rose Bowl has special value. Everyone else (whether power or non-power conference or independents) seems to just look at the bowls as the equivalent of NCAA Tournament neutral sites at this point, so they’re increasingly seeing the bowls as middle men that might be taking more revenue than they deserve.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Frank the Tank,

        The SEC champ may not, but what about their at-larges? This is a conference with teams like UF that went decades without leaving the state for an OOC game. They want to risk playing in Madison in mid-December?

        Or what about the ACC with their smaller stadiums and teams like Miami that use sideline heaters during bowl games in FL.

        And some northern school may have legitimate winterization concerns. Old stadiums with old pipes could face problems if a cold snap comes through. Would they be allowed to substitute a local dome?

        The bowl system is already dead. The Rose has lost it’s special meaning to B10 and P12 fans under the age of 40 (maybe even older). It will never regain its status. The question now is just little bowls versus games on campus.

        I’d like to think they settle on campus sites just for travel costs, but then the 1st round losers would not get their “bowl experience” so maybe they’ll insist on that. The big bowls won’t move to mid-December, so it’s either little bowls or delaying the postseason.

        I think they’ll really struggle to find consensus on the details, especially since they haven’t gotten any input from TV yet on how much more they could make by expanding.

        Like

  14. Marc

    As I understand it, the requirement for unanimity applies ONLY if they tear up the existing contract before expiration. That is because every Division I conference plus Notre Dame is a signatory. When you have a contract, a subset cannot walk away (without serious consequences).

    Once the contract expires after the 2026 championship game, the separate parties can do whatever they want. This is exactly what happened during the old Bowl Alliance era, when most of the power conferences (plus ND) agreed to pit #1 vs #2 at the end of the season, but the Big Ten and Pac-12 chose instead to keep their separate Rose Bowl agreement.

    Now, I am not suggesting that you’d ever see an expanded playoff while the Big Ten and Pac-12 go back to their Rose Bowl deal: those days are surely over. But after the current contract expires, it becomes a lot harder for a small minority to derail what most of the others want.

    The current situation, where they are looking at expanding the playoff before the current deal expires, gives any dissenter much more power than they would ordinarily have. Of course, what limits the dissenters is the knowledge that their leverage lasts only until 2026.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Marc,

      I believe you are correct, but there will be no playoff system that doesn’t include ND. First, there is too much money at stake to leave out a 12-0 ND team ever. Second, I think we are seeing that the money has gotten so big that congress is stepping in. Any system that keeps teams out will likely suffer legal challenges at some level. The same is true with the G5 – if they get left out, look for legal issues and possible legislation. I could even see congress forcing (by threat) the NCAA to host a I-A playoff just as they do in all other sports – no more special deals for the P5. That would require a huge split of money for the G5, so the P5 will be very careful about that.

      Like

    2. @Marc – In that sense, yes, it’s true that the unanimity required is due to having to amend an existing contract.

      That being said, I’ve seen some of the financial damage that the pandemic has caused to otherwise strong P5 universities firsthand, so I think we’re at the point where if there’s “easy money” to be had more quickly, then they’ll push this forward (especially if everyone believes that they’d expand the playoff for the next contract, anyway).

      Like

  15. Marc

    Notre Dame’s special status merits a comment. The Irish have so much power only because the other Power Five conferences voluntarily allow it. Now, why is that?

    In a deal that did not give them the special access they now have, ND would be forced to join a conference. The Irish are contractually obligated that if they join ANY conference in football, they must join the ACC. This would delight the ACC, but no one else.

    So, the rest of the Power Five treat ND as an equal, because they have decided an independent ND is more useful to them. I know that many of ND’s opposing fans resent this. Treated strictly as an economic decision, it makes perfect sense.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Marc,

      ND has special status because they make money for everyone they play, and because it didn’t really harm anyone that mattered to the powers that be. The G5 get screwed over by it, but nobody in power cares. Even before ND was linked to the ACC, the P5 teams were happy to treat ND as an equal. Part of that was their history and importance for national fans. I actually think that aspect has faded as everyone is on TV nationally and ND doesn’t have nearly as many fans on the east coast as they used to.

      Like

      1. @Brian – Yes, this is true, too. Ultimately, ND makes more for the system overall and anyone that is a money-maker is fine with the P5.

        Granted, ND *has* deserved to be in the playoff in the 2 instances where they made it in the CFP era. It’s not as if though they were some type of charity case or money grab. The fact that they didn’t actually perform well in the playoff games themselves doesn’t detract from the fact that their on-the-field accomplishments leading up to them were completely playoff-worthy.

        Like

    2. @Marc – Completely agree. I see comments all of the time from fans that ND should be “forced” to join a conference. However, none of the Power Five want ND to join *a* conference. Instead, each of the Power Five wants ND to join *their* conference.

      How does it benefit the Big Ten and SEC for the ACC, which directly competes with those leagues in their respective footprints, to add in arguably the most valuable brand in college football in ND? Absolutely none – that would be increasing the power of the ACC drastically. As a result, the Big Ten and SEC are better off keeping ND independent and aren’t going to engage in sabre rattling on that front. An additional Group of 5 playoff participant honestly bothers the Power Five 1000 times more than allowing ND to have access.

      Like

      1. Marc

        In addition to that, all of the P5 conferences play ND in the regular season — some more than others, but they all do it. The conferences clearly WANT those games, and they could not all happen if ND were committed to a full ACC schedule.

        I just noticed that ND agreed to a future home & home with USF, a rare true road game for them at a non-P5 opponent. (I know they play @Navy every other year, but those games usually move to neutral sites.)

        Like

  16. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/31402209/hartford-athletics-transitioning-division-division-iii

    I don’t think this is starting a trend, but Hartford is moving from D-I (America East) to D-III by 2025. That means no new scholarship offers as of 2022-23. I’m sure that will be a fun team to coach or play on those last few years with walk-ons facing D-I scholarship players (I assume those who can get a scholarship elsewhere will transfer).

    “A move to Division III will allow the University to further strengthen the academic, co-curricular, and wellness experience for all students,” board of regents chair David Gordon said in a statement. “While we know this decision will disappoint some members of our community, we remain confident that this shift is in the best long-term interests of the institution and all its students.”

    Last month, a University of Hartford athletics feasibility study, commissioned by school president Gregory Woodward and conducted by the consulting firm CarrSports, was made public. The study indicated the school would save $9.2 million per year by going from Division I to Division III.

    Like

    1. Marc

      The math makes sense. Hartford is not a school for which any sport is a meaningful part of its public identity. They don’t play football, so basketball is their only money-making sport, but it probably doesn’t make THAT much money, since they’ve never achieved any sustained success.

      What they make in basketball has to be spread across all of their other sports. That it falls short to the tune of $9.2 million a year is not surprising. For a school like Hartford, that is a significant sum to plow into athletics.

      Like

      1. Brian

        https://www.courant.com/sports/college/hc-sp-university-of-hartford-goes-div-iii-20210507-jva2n5pi5nfvvnt2wyr2cz3jde-story.html

        Pat Meiser, who was the athletic director at Hartford from 1993-2014, said she was very disappointed in the decision.

        “I really fear for the future of the school,” Meiser said. “This appears to be a quick fix, which sadly may turn out to be terribly disappointing for the overall institution.”

        “I don’t think I would characterize it as a strictly financial decision,” [Board of Regents vice chair Kathy Behrens] said. “I think the board felt this was a better path for the long-term success of the university.”

        The report’s recommendation that UHart transition to Division III sparked backlash from athletes and alumni, who organized rallies and signed petitions seeking to keep the school in Division I. Critics of the proposed shift to Division III have argued that Division I athletics bring attention to a school, while benefiting fundraising and alumni engagement.

        Other have pointed to UHart’s declining enrollment and resulting financial troubles as justification for a potential shift to Division III. According to figures from the university, undergraduate enrollment at UHart dropped about 14% from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2020, and total enrollment was down about 6.5% during that period.

        The math does make sense if you only consider the athletic costs. But then only a few schools actually profit from sports. But the BoR vice chair said it wasn’t a strictly financial decision. How else would it benefit the school?

        What about the free advertising? The student experience? Alumni relations? They still have all their facilities that require maintenance and have overhead costs. Maybe they even have some debt for them. What will they do with them now? Will the reminders that they used to be D-I hurt them in recruiting students? Perhaps their independent report looked into all these aspects and still said it wasn’t worth it.

        And the $9.2M number is disputed.

        https://www.courant.com/sports/hc-sp-hartford-hawks-athletics-report-questions-20210424-padw3zs4sbdsfmwgwfsgog2dbe-story.html

        But a close analysis of the report reveals that some of the $9.2 million is shifting from the athletic department to other parts of the university, as acknowledged elsewhere in the study. Additionally, experts note, savings from cutting athletic scholarships depend on UHart’s ability to replace scholarship athletes with tuition-paying students, which won’t necessarily be easy.

        Of that $9.2 million in projected athletic department savings, $6.2 million comes from eliminating all athletic scholarships, which are not permitted in Division III — with the rest coming from cuts in compensation for coaches and staff, as well as a decrease in operating expenses.

        That does not mean, however, that the school would save the entire $6.2 million in aid to athletes by shifting divisions. Instead, experts say, Division III recruits would likely be enticed to enroll with other forms of financial aid, just as many other UHart students are. Their aid would not be charged to the athletic department but would still cost the university.

        Replacing several hundred students receiving a 94% discount rate with several hundred other students paying a 57% discount rate would likely save the school some money — but not the full $6.2 million. Rather, the report says, replacing athletes paying a 94% discount rate with others paying a 57% discount rate would net the school about $5.1 million a year.

        That level of savings, however, assumes the university would be able to replace its current pool of Division I athletes with a new pool of Division III athletes or other students paying more in tuition.

        The reality might not be so simple.

        “In terms of the actual cost to the university of admitting the student,” says Michael Leeds, a sports economist at Temple University, “it’s a cost only to the extent you are displacing another student and that the student you are displacing is paying his or her own way.”

        If Hartford can’t replace scholarship athletes with tuition-paying ones, its savings will likely be lighter than projected.

        The report projects that UHart’s new Division III athletic department would take in about $600,000 a year in operating revenues, down from $1.8 million in Division I. This projection, the report says, includes ticket sales, sponsorships, fundraising and income from athletic facilities.

        Leeds agreed that the figure seemed “very optimistic,” though he said the difference was ultimately “small potatoes” in the context of college sports finances.

        So if they’ll save less than projected and make less than projected, does it change the case?

        Like

        1. Marc

          “So if they’ll save less than projected and make less than projected, does it change the case?”

          The usual rationale for a money-losing athletics department, is that it builds the school brand, i.e., this quote: “Division I athletics bring attention to a school, while benefiting fundraising and alumni engagement.”

          Now, how much juice does Hartford get from that?

          Like

  17. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31439007/pac-12-hiring-mgm-executive-george-kliavkoff-commissioner-source-says

    The P12 has made an interesting hire as their new commissioner.

    George Kliavkoff, the president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International, has been hired as the next commissioner of the Pac-12, the conference announced Thursday.

    “At each step of his career, George has navigated complex, quickly changing environments and has been a successful consensus builder,” Schill said in a statement. “George is a visionary leader with an extraordinary background as a pioneering sports, entertainment and digital media executive, and we are delighted and honored that he has agreed to become our next Pac-12 Commissioner.”

    Like

    1. Brian

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/2021/05/13/new-pac-12-commissioner-george-kliavkoff-promises-change-beleaguered-conference/5080054001/

      Some here may disagree, so I wanted to show this excerpt from a column by Dan Wolken:

      … Scott’s tenure will be defined by a miscalculation on the Pac-12 Networks’ ownership and distribution model — decisions that left the league well behind its peers in terms of television revenue …

      Was Scott wrong at the time, or just in hindsight? It felt more like the P12 took a risk, and it didn’t pay off in the end. Many speculated that it wouldn’t at the time, of course, but conference networks were still very new. We also don’t know what he heard in discussions with media companies (if anything) before deciding to go it alone. Were Fox or ESPN willing to partner with them on it, and if so at what price? If they weren’t, should that have been a hint that 7 channels was too many?

      Should Scott get the blame, or the presidents who signed off on the decision? After all, they are the ones who are supposed to know their alumni and fans. Scott was new to college sports.

      Like

      1. @Brian – I felt that the Pac-12 Networks structure was a bad risk from the beginning. This is a classic case of, “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.” The Pac-12 saw what the Big Ten was getting with circa-50% ownership of BTN and got starry-eyed about what they thought that they could get with 100% ownership. Chasing that mega-payout was their downfall. I’ve long thought that having a media partner that can leverage other networks in carriage deals is critical in this landscape. So, the Pac-12 going it alone meant that they couldn’t utilize the power of other media partner networks in their negotiations.

        To apply a financial investing concept, the risk adjusted return calculation for the Pac-12 Networks never made much sense to me. (To use an extreme example, in a vacuum, an 11% return on an investment is better than a 10% return. However, if you need to take 100% more risk and volatility to get that extra 1%, then the risk adjusted return is actually better for the latter 10% return. You should be getting compensated way more than an extra 1% if you’re doubling your risk and volatility.) Remember that the Big Ten got a substantial guaranteed rights fee from the BTN from day one (nearly as large as their tier 1 ESPN contract at the time) and then a share of profits after that. The Pac-12 was foregoing that guaranteed rights payment right off the bat in going it alone, which exponentially increased their risk compared to virtually every other sports team or league (pro or college) that has started a network.

        In theory, it might have worked for the Pac-12, but I feel as if though Larry Scott believed he was being innovative when in reality he was trying to reinvent a wheel that didn’t need to be reinvented. Much of this was quite foreseeable by a lot of observers when the Pac-12 Networks were formed, so this is more of a validation of a sizable number of skeptics (including me) than a 20/20 hindsight situation.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Frank the Tank,

          One thing I wonder is how much difference the decision to go it alone made, versus trying for 7 networks. If they had stuck to 1 network, might the P12N have done better? Might it have been more attractive to a media partner? Or did they go with 7 because they couldn’t get a media partner?

          We don’t know that the P12 had any willing media partners at the time, though presumably for a low enough price Fox or ESPN might have done it. But how much would the P12 have made in that arrangement? Perhaps the offers were so low that the risk of going it alone seemed reasonable?

          This was still the early days of conference networks, so I don’t think they really knew what the demand would be for it. I think they underestimated how hard it would be to get carriage. The biggest error, perhaps, was signing a most favored status agreement early with someone because that kept them from ever getting on satellite TV which is big out west.

          But in the end, we have to remember that P12 fans just aren’t as numerous or committed as SEC or B10 fans. I don’t know that the P12N would ever have been really successful even with a 50/50 partner. Cord cutting started not long after these networks and the cable companies played hardball. BTN struggled with it.

          Like

          1. ccrider55

            I agree with your financial and fan engagement, but I disagree with the premise that the P12N was a financially motivated endeavor. At least not in the short term (meaning better part of the rights contract). The ever present “whatever I’m getting, it isn’t enough” caught up with them. If I recall correctly the Pac primary rights deal made them the highest (briefly) compensated conf. I can’t find it now but I recall quotes that income from the network was not the primary motivation. They got the huge T1 deal for money. Nobody knew how well BTN would pay. After the fact envy by newer administrators (and fans/sports writers).

            DTV dying, espn subs down significantly. They aren’t the B1G or SEC. I still think keeping 100% (I myself might even drop that to controlling interest) through at least two negotiation cycles after formation is the only way to truly measure. It’s never failed to make money, just not what people now desire.

            I don’t know that we’ll get to find out.

            Like

          2. Brian

            ccrider55,

            I concur that money wasn’t the primary motivation behind the P12N, exposure was. And one thing that hurt the P12N seeking carriage was that the presidents were focused on exposure for non-revenue sports just as much as the revenue sports, so the content was not nearly as heavily slanted to CFB and MBB as other conference networks. And the regional networks meant that fans had to leave near their favorite team to get all the coverage, if they could get carriage locally.

            But money was a secondary consideration, and some of the presidents have hinted that Scott projected a much higher return than it ever delivered. And then the TV deals for the B10 and SEC exploded, putting the P12 way behind in revenue again which of course drew more complaints.

            But if the non-traditional media companies don’t step up soon for the P12, I think their plan will fail. I don’t know that they can afford another 5-10 years with the P12N delivering very low revenue. At some point it may have to become purely online to save costs, and might even need to lose production value (become more student-run than professional).

            Like

      2. Marc

        “Was Scott wrong at the time, or just in hindsight? . . . Should Scott get the blame, or the presidents who signed off on the decision?”

        As @Brian notes, it is hard to judge, because we don’t have the facts that Scott and the presidents had. You’ve got to assume that a model resembling the Big Ten Network was at least considered, but what were the drawbacks? We just don’t know.

        The risks of the Pac-12’s approach were widely commented on at the time. Scott was paid lavishly to correctly evaluate those risks. Granted, the presidents had to sign off, but he is the one with the full-time job to get it right.

        You could compare it to Jim Delany’s many decisions that the Big Ten presidents formally had to approve, but are widely considered to be his legacy — for good or ill. Of course, that is how it is when you are a CEO: you get the glory when your decisions work out, and a disproportionate share of the blame when they don’t.

        Like

  18. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Frank – for some reason Word Press is not allowing me to post the link, but there is a great article in today’s Washington Post (5/14) entitled “How America’s ‘places to be” have shifted over the past 100 years. Here’s a summary of the rankings.

    2020 Top 10 (1920 ranking)
    1. CA (8)
    2. TX (5)
    3. FL (33)
    4. NY (1)
    5. PA (2)
    6. IL (3)
    7. OH (4)
    8. GA (12)
    9. NC (14)
    10. MI (7)

    Falling out of the 1920 Top 10 are: #6 MA (#15 in 2020); #9 MO (#19 in 2020); and #10 NJ (#11 in 2020)

    Biggest ranking shifts

    Winners
    AZ 47 to 14
    FL 33 to 3
    NV 51 to 33
    WA 30 to 13
    CO 34 to 21
    MD 28 to 18
    UT 41 to 31

    Losers
    IA 16 to 32
    WV 27 to 40
    MS 23 to 35
    KS 24 to 36
    KY 15 to 26
    ND 36 to 48
    MO 9 to 19
    SD 37 to 47

    By Region:

    Almost every state in the West bracket improved their ranking (AK, HI, CA, OR, WA, ID, NV, UT & CO) except MT and WY.

    For the Southwest bracket TX, NM & AZ improved, while OK fell in the rankings.

    Regarding the Southeast bracket, there were six winners FL, GA, SC, NC, TN & VA) and six losers (WV, KY,AL, AR, MS and my backwards but still beloved home state of LA).

    In the New England/Mid-Atlantic bracket, eight losers (ME, VT, MA, RI, NY & PA), two winners (MD & DE), and two holding their ranking (CT & NH).

    As for the Midwest bracket (ND, SD, MN, WI, NE, KS, MO, IA, IL, IN, MI & OH), sorry guys but all states fell in the rankings. Many are still top 10 states though.

    If you subscribe to the Post, I highly recommend the read and there’s also some interactive graphics.

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Sorry, I should have proof-read before sending. DC & NJ were losers in the New England/Mid-Atlantic bracket.

      For those U.S. Commonwealth fans, PR moved up slightly from #31 to #30.

      Like

    2. Brian

      For those who didn’t read it, the listing is in order of total population. It’s not about “best” places, just the most populous.

      How much of the change on this list is due to air conditioning and vast improvements in refrigeration and freezing?

      LA was climbing until 1980, then began slowly dropping as AZ, CO, MN and SC passed it. I can understand AZ, CO and SC, but MN passing LA in the 80s?

      The big midwestern states had to slowly drop as CA, TX and FL exploded. Based on birth rates and the percentage of hispanic population in each state, the trend will continue for a long time. It may take global warming (and the droughts it can cause) to drive people out of the south and west and back to the midwest. I don’t know what might drive people to the great plains.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Brian – from the South’s perspective, air conditioning is the greatest invention since the wheel!

        In many ways, from the 1940s to the early 1980s, Louisiana was more like Ohio than Mississippi, with many union manufacturing jobs, in addition to oil & gas and the ports.

        But we still haven’t recovered from the oil bust of the 80s. Our continued over reliance on the oil & gas sector, the consolidation of the white collar jobs in Houston and away from New Orleans, and the loss of manufacturing jobs to countries overseas are big factors as well. We still haven’t figured out how to diversify our economy that still largely consists of oil & gas, the offshore service industry (also oil & gas), tourism, gambling (quasi- tourism). and agriculture. Film & TV production is fun, but it’s not changing the economy. The “Silicon Bayou” never really developed. They is hope with regard to biomedical research (LSU is a world leader in obesity research – ironically) and cyber security near Shreveport. For many reasons, our greatest strength with the Mississippi River and port system has never been fully utilized with spin-off industry

        Like

        1. ccrider55

          “ (LSU is a world leader in obesity research – ironically)”

          I’d appreciate it if they’d research faster! 😕

          Like

      2. @Brian – It’s interesting since, as of right now, climate change risks seem to have no impact on where people are choosing to live even though they are superficially worried about it. I think a lot about being a snowbird once we’re empty nesters, so I long thought about a winter home in a place like Naples, FL. Rationally, though, do I want to sink a ton of money in a location that has (a) immediate short-term hurricane risks and (b) long-term global warming risks as one of the first places in the US (along with Miami) that would be impacted by rising sea levels (as a low elevation/flat land/porous ground area directly on the water)? Irrationally, there’s basically nothing I love more than a beach and it has the best winter weather in the continental US. (To be sure, Hawaii blows away the competition on all fronts.)

        So, I then think about a place like Scottsdale, AZ, where I really enjoy the natural scenery and topography (despite the lack of a beach) and the amenities (e.g. restaurants, White Sox and Cubs spring training baseball). There certainly isn’t a hurricane risk there. Of course, then I think about water shortages, droughts and wildfires.

        Yet, you see that all of these locations with high climate change risks being among the biggest winners in population growth. There just seems to a YOLO mentality in choosing places to live (and to be fair, maybe they’re not wrong depending on their life expectancy). For better or worse, more people view “bad weather” as “bad winter weather”, so that always hammers the Midwest and Northeast. The fact that summers are stifling in much of the Sun Belt never gets as much attention in the “bad weather” analysis.

        Like

      3. frug

        I know I am really late to the party, but an even bigger than AC and refrigeration (which are both factors) has been the expansion of rail and the development of the interstate highway system.

        The 8 biggest losers are all part of the Mississippi River Basin and the overwhelming number of the other losers also part of the MRB and/or Great Lakes Basin. This makes sense; in the past only fast and affordable way to ship things was over water so people who didn’t live on the coasts pretty much had to live in the either the MRB or the GLB.

        The expansion rail and highways, however, meant for the first time people could choose to live inland in places that didn’t have navigable rivers or lakes (AZ, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, etc.). Meanwhile, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts were less effected by rail and highways because much of their trade still went overseas (i.e. to places that can’t be reached by rail or truck).

        Like

  19. Brian

    Fox has announced that the Oregon @ OSU game will be played at noon. This is another reason the P12 suffers. No fan base wants to play at 9 am.

    Like

  20. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31467258/with-new-optimism-based-new-circumstances-stanford-reverses-controversial-decision-eliminate-11-varsity-sports

    Stanford has decided not to eliminate 11 varsity sports after all. It sounds like Stanford basically extorted their alumni for athletics funding.

    “We have new optimism based on new circumstances, including vigorous and broad-based philanthropic interest in Stanford Athletics on the part of our alumni, which have convinced us that raising the increased funds necessary to support all 36 of our varsity teams is an approach that can succeed,” Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement.

    In the original announcement in July, university leaders said that it was not sustainable to continue to support 36 athletic programs and that the programs would be disbanded after the 2020-21 academic year. The school called the decision a “last resort” and said it “comes down primarily to finances and competitive excellence.”

    Those claims were largely debunked by 36 Sports Strong, which determined the cuts would save Stanford roughly $4.5 million a year, which equates to about 3% of the athletic department’s budget. The 11 sports already had a combined $23 million endowment and, as of early last month, had received about $50 million in pledges to support the sports in the future.

    In an open letter to the Stanford community, Tessier-Lavigne, provost Persis Drell and athletics director Bernard Muir said the department still faces significant financial challenges.

    The sports are endowed plus the get all their annual P12 money, but this $4.5M per year was going to make the difference?

    Like

  21. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31449912/state-pac-12-hiring-george-kliavkoff-means-tv-rights-cfp-expansion-nil-more

    ESPN took a broader look at what the new P12 commish means for issues in CFB. There was a nugget in there:

    Arizona president Robert Robbins, who hails from SEC country, went to school in Mississippi and continues to follow college football closely, said the four best teams advanced to the playoff in 2020.

    “What we’ve got to do is field more competitive teams,” he said of the Pac-12. “I would personally say that — and it’s probably a minority opinion with the other university presidents — I would favor expansion of the playoff, maybe to eight teams. We’d start there. If you look at every other college sport, there’s multiple teams in the playoff, and you decide the championship that way.

    “You would have to cut down some of the regular-season games, obviously, but I think it would be kinda cool. I think the fans would want to see it. We as presidents, however, do not want to see a longer season. I don’t think anybody would go for that.”

    Someone will have to get the presidents on board to expand the playoff. Will it ever make financial sense to drop a regular season game for it?

    Like

    1. Marc

      I do not see them cutting down the regular season. After all, the 12th regular-season game is something everybody gets to play. The extra playoff games would be something that, at most, 16 teams get to play. (Sixteen is the largest expansion anybody is talking about, but I would be surprised if it goes that far.)

      And of course, even assuming a 16-team playoff, the wealth would not be randomly distributed. No matter how big the playoff, certain teams will be in it almost every year, while others will almost never be. Taking away a regular-season game from everybody, while giving a playoff game to very few, is a stone cold loser.

      I could envision a better competitive argument for eliminating conference championship games, which some would argue are the de facto first round of the playoffs anyway, at least within the P5. Like playoffs, CCGs tend to be dominated by the same handful of teams over and over again. But I think the SEC will give up its championship game when pigs fly.

      Like

      1. @Marc – I agree. As much as there is posturing, I firmly believe that any new playoff will be a pure addition to the current regular season and conference championship structure as opposed to taking anything away. If anything, a playoff that has P5 auto-bids makes the conference championship games significantly more valuable (as those CCGs themselves become de facto playoff games with 100% revenue control by the respective conferences).

        There’s one reason why playoff expansion is on the docket and one reason only: making more money. There’s not going to be a trade-off here by giving up revenue from a regular season game or, worse, a CCG.

        Like

      2. Brian

        Marc,

        I doubt they will do this, but they could cut make the CCG be part of the 12 game season. Conferences could flex schedule everyone else for their 12th games, or everyone not in a CCG could play an OOC game. So really all you did was cut 1 conference game from each conference and make the CCGs not have their own special weekend.

        I agree the most likely plan seems to be not to give up anything, I just don’t know if the presidents are ready for that yet. I think they need to hear financial numbers from TV people.

        Like

    2. @Brian – Your prior note about Stanford restoring 11 varsity sports that were previously cut in order to save $4.5 million is instructive and why, at the end of the day, I think playoff expansion is going to happen sooner rather than later regardless of what the university presidents might be saying publicly right now. Stanford has the fourth largest endowment of any school in the country (over 10 times the amount of most of the schools in the Big Ten) and yet they felt enough financial pressure (whether real or perceived) to go out and try to save $4.5 million with cuts to athletics. There are a whole lot of other significantly less wealthy schools (including those in the Power 5) that are feeling even greater financial pressures.

      The debate about the logistics and format of playoff expansion might seem hard, but the reality is that it is one of the quickest and easiest revenue generating options that these schools have in the face of one of the most difficult financial years that they’ve had on record with this pandemic. I just don’t think the CFP leadership itself and conference commissioners would voluntarily and openly talk about playoff expansion unless it was already very far along in the process (because they know full well that it’s red meat for reporters and blogs like this one).

      Like

      1. Brian

        Frank the Tank,

        I don’t think it would ever enter Stanford’s minds to use their academic endowment to pay for sports. They started endowing athletic scholarships awhile ago, and I think this was all a plan to drive fundraising for that. Their goal is to get to a completely endowed athletic department. If their real concern was saving money, they could save more than $4.5M by trimming the CFB and MBB budgets.

        As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think you convince the presidents without showing them financial numbers from the TV people. It sounds like the CFP wants to pick a plan first, then talk to TV execs. I think they should change that – trim the ideas down to a top few and then ask the TV execs for ballpark values for the different plans. If TV has strong preferences, you should factor them in up front rather than trying to force everyone to accept your idea (like semifinals on NYE).

        Like

        1. @Brian – Yes, correct – Stanford isn’t going to use their endowment for anything other than prescribed purposes from their donors. I’m just saying that when a university that is so insanely wealthy and the center and direct catalyst of arguably the biggest wealth generator on the planet for the past 30 years in Silicon Valley is sweating over $4.5 million for minor sports, then that shows how deep the financial issues are for broader academia right now. I’ve seen some school financials (even within the Power 5) from the past year and there’s just absolutely no way that even the wealthiest schools are turning down any revenue on what might have been rock hard principles previously. That’s what makes me particularly bullish on CFP expansion at this juncture – I think the pandemic quickly turned the expansion discussions from “How are we going to expand for the next CFP TV contract?” to “How quickly can we expand and tear up the existing CFP TV contract to get more money NOW (not 5 years from now)?” Whether there’s going to be playoff expansion isn’t really a question anymore – it’s *how* it’s going to expand that’s going to be the real debate.

          Like

        2. ccrider55

          I don’t think saving money was anything other than an excuse. The group trying for restoration asked about fully endowing (plus some) at their first meeting and was told it wouldn’t matter. Had Stanford simply needed more money all they needed to do was ask the alumni. Probably more to do with freeing up more openings for other applicants, and not bending academic admission requirements some for a certain number of athlete recruits. There may be other reasons that perhaps we’ll find out about because I believe the legal case brought to restore is not going away.

          Like

      2. ccrider55

        “ Stanford has the fourth largest endowment of any school in the country …”

        I believe it should be third. “The U Tx system has eight separate and distinct 4-year academic institutions; each is a stand-alone university and confers its own degrees” (Wiki) and is ranked 2nd in one list.

        Like

  22. Mike

    Probably not the last time we’ll see a conference do this, but the SEC took out a loan to help their members handle losses from Covid.

    Like

    1. Brian

      OSU’s AD is projecting that their deficit will be $50M. The projection was $70M in January, and over $100M in September before it was decided to resume football. Some of the savings came from budget cuts, but a lot was getting back the CFB media revenue. The AD will take a loan from the school to cover the deficit and will likely pay it off in a few years ($18.7M surplus last year).

      As low as interest rates are right now, I’d think schools could easily handle the debt burden. Maybe the SEC was due for some profit sharing from SECN anyway and had been saving it up as a rainy day fund. The B10 did a payout not long ago.

      Like

    2. Alan from Baton Rouge

      It looks more like an advance on future earnings from the new Tier 1 distribution.

      From the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate on 5/19/21.

      “The conference is using future increases in media rights revenue to facilitate the supplemental funding. The SEC announced in December that it will enter an exclusive 10-year TV contract with ABC/ESPN/Disney beginning in 2024, reportedly worth $300 million per year.

      Beginning in 2025, the conference will allocate a portion of the media rights fees to be received by the conference to fund the supplemental distribution. The SEC said it projects that its annual distribution to each school will still increase in 2025 and beyond, even after a portion of the new revenue is reallocated.”

      Like

    1. Jersey Bernie

      As I recall, Nebraska and Ohio State should get much of the credit, when they pretty much forced the B1G to play a fall football schedule. Other teams agreed but they were in the lead, particularly Nebraska.

      Like

  23. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/recruiting/football/story/_/id/31483492/no-82-recruit-jaydon-blue-skip-senior-season-high-school-football-prepare-commitment-texas-longhorns

    This is setting a bad precedent. A top recruit is opting to sit out his senior season to prepare for playing CFB at UTexas next year. It was one thing for some players to do it last year due to COVID, but sitting out an entire season to avoid wear and tear in high school? If I was one of his HS teammates I’d be upset.

    Like

  24. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31503931/committee-proposes-removing-fielding-yost-name-michigan-wolverines-ice-arena

    Good or bad idea? UM is discussing removing Fielding Yost’s name from their hockey arena due to his behavior (he died in 1946). By many accounts Yost was a biased man, anti-Catholic and racist. Is it worth noting they don’t even mention his anti-Catholic behavior? Maybe they feel it was more anti-ND than anti-Catholic, but many reports say otherwise.

    A committee proposed that the University of Michigan remove Fielding Yost’s name from the campus ice arena after a review of his work, including his refusal to let a Black football player play a Southern school in 1934.

    But Yost refused to let Willis Ward play against Georgia Tech, a response to a demand by that school. The decision greatly angered teammate Gerald Ford, who would become vice president and president of the United States.

    “While we acknowledge that Yost had both successes and failures in his career, our historical analysis suggests to us that the benching of Ward was not an aberration but rather epitomized a long series of actions that worked against the integration of sports on campus,” said the President’s Advisory Committee on University History.

    The committee also noted that some students who protested were expelled, based partly on an investigation by private detectives who were hired by Yost.

    Like

    1. Marc

      The Yost decision seems consistent with what other schools have done, e.g., Princeton removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from its Public Policy school.

      There may soon be a reckoning over Bo Schembechler. The university commissioned a report on decades of sexual abuse committed by former team physician Dr. Robert Anderson. The report suggested that Schembechler (and many others) knew about the allegations and did nothing about them.

      Prominent fans have started to agitate that the statue should come down, and Schembechler Hall should be renamed.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Marc,

        It does follow the larger pattern. It makes me wonder about everyone else they have named something after, though. It’s usually mostly a list of white men, and if you look close enough you’ll often find some problems. I get that they received specific requests to look into Yost, but I generally think they would be better off examining more broadly all at the same time. And define the standards in advance. I also think it’s odd that nothing is said about his alleged anti-Catholic bias. A thorough report should have at least brought the issue to light and discussed it. A purely racial focus will only make a certain group of alumni more likely to dismiss the report.

        Personally, I always thought it was a little weird they named the ice rink after him anyway. He was the football coach and AD. They built Michigan stadium while he was there, but named the field house after him.

        Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Mike – maybe the networks only see value in two B-12 teams and are attempting to force another round of realignment?

      Texas, TX Tech, Oklahoma & OK State to the P-12.
      Kansas & Iowa St to the B1G
      Baylor & TCU to the SEC
      West VA to the ACC
      K-State to the MWC

      One less contract to deal with.

      Like

      1. Mike

        Alan – I don’t know if they will force it, but might see it coming. I feel like the Pac12 is going to try something to jump start their value. I think at least they’ll offer the Texas four (or get crazy and offer the Texahoma 6) just to see if they’ll bite.

        Like

      2. FrankTheAg

        If the assumption is correct and the networks are only interested in the Longhorns and Sooners, why would the B10, SEC and ACC take those other schools?

        Most likely scenario for both of the “wanted” would be to the PAC12 along with combining the LHN and PAC12 networks into one single entity with a new and lucrative contract with Fox, ESPN or both.

        The rest will find homes in G5 leagues.

        Like

        1. Jersey Bernie

          I agree that there is just about zero chance that the ACC academics would ever accept WVa. It is not at the academic level that the ACC would want, it is in a small market state, and while the sports are very solid, they are not super elite. What does WVa to the ACC?

          If anything, the chance of the B1G taking Iowa State might even be less than the ACC and WVa. Kansas might be feasible for the B1G, but would hardly be a first choice and probably would not be taken alone creating a 15 team conference.

          Why would the SEC want to share with two second level schools in Texas. They have A&M and would gladly take UT, but that is it.

          If the P-12 could take UT and Okla (and had to take “little brothers”), they might well do it just get the two superstars. Would Texas give up its LHN and power in the Big 12? By the way, UT might need to piggyback Texas Tech, but would owe nothing to Baylor or TCU, so I cannot see either of theme having any value to another conference.

          I think that if the four TX and OK schools went to the P-12, the remainders in the league would try to add the top G5 schools and keep P5 status. UCF and USF, Cincinnati and a few others might bring enough to stay in the P5.

          Like

        2. @FrankTheAg – I truly believe that the Big 12 is held together by the knowledge that there’s mutually assured destruction if either Texas or Oklahoma (or to a lesser extent, Kansas) leaves and it’s complicated by the fact that UT, OU and KU all have little in-state brothers that would seek/demand political protection. It’s not an accident that Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri were “lone wolf” schools within their respective states in the Big 12 and Texas A&M had more flexibility since a fellow big brother school in UT would still be in the Big 12.

          You’re totally correct that anyone other than UT, OU or KU on their *own* would be at risk of being relegated to G5 leagues. The wrinkle, though, is that I don’t believe that UT, OU or KU truly have free will to do anything on their *own* unless the Big 12 is truly collapsing. T. Boone Pickens, for instance, isn’t going to just let Oklahoma State get sent to the AAC while the Sooners head off on their own somewhere else. The Catch-22 is that the Big 12 isn’t going to collapse unless UT, OU and/or KU decide to leave in the first place, so none of those school can ever really use the excuse that “The Big 12 is collapsing!” with any of their in-state politicians in a way that might have been the case circa 2010. A Big 12 collapse requires a proactive move from UT, OU and/or KU, yet the problem is that they’re not going to be allowed to do anything other than a reactive move from a political standpoint unless they’re taking little brothers with them (which then makes UT/OU/KU a lot less attractive for realignment purposes).

          So, I think the Big 12 has a tenuous Cold War-esque peace that will keep them together for awhile.

          Like

          1. Mike

            T. Boone Pickens, for instance, isn’t going to just let Oklahoma State get sent to the AAC while the Sooners head off on their own somewhere else.

            It doesn’t change your point because you can use any mega-booster, but T. Boone passed away in 2019.

            Like

        3. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Aggie Frank – I wasn’t serious about the rest of the B-12 neatly fitting into the other conferences.

          I do think the next round of realignment won’t be about carriage for cable channels. It will be about ratings.

          The Pac-12 has to (or should) do something big. While Stanford, USC, Cal, UCLA & Washington may hate to take Texas Tech and OK State in order to get Texas and Oklahoma, they should keep in mind already has under-achieving little brothers in Oregon State & Washington State. What’s two more to land two football kings and – maybe just as important – the Central Time Zone.

          Let Texas and OU keep their 3rd tier deals, sell the P12N to a streaming service, and get back into big boy college football.

          If ratings are the driver in the next round and it looks like the SEC and the B1G lap the field, what do Clemson and Florida State do?

          Like

          1. Marc

            The Pac-12 has to (or should) do something big.

            The only suggestion here is to add the four Texas and Oklahoma schools, which the Pac-12 cannot do on its own. There is a lot of political will holding the Big 12 together. We think of UT and TT as a pair, but Baylor alumni have a lot of clout too. Plus, do UT and OU really want a steady diet of games in the Pacific time zone? I am not sure there is any amount of money the Pac-12 can offer to make that worthwhile.

            I repeatedly see suggestions that the Big Ten would take schools like Iowa State and Kansas. As the overwhelming money leader, the Big Ten is sitting pretty. They will not take any school unless it is dramatically accretive to revenue. Football is overwhelmingly the largest revenue source, and in football Kansas contributes almost nothing.

            It is not like the Big Ten and SEC necessarily have to to make a move, just because the Pac-12 does. Even if the Pac-12 could expand, I suspect it would still be in third place in money distributed per school. The media partners certainly cannot force a power conference to accept members it does not want. And even if they could, Iowa State and Kansas football games are not the product they want more of.

            Like

          2. @Marc – I could possibly see the Pac-12 adding the 4 Texas and Oklahoma schools as working if only because it was very close to happening back in 2010 (with Texas A&M also involved as a 5th school). I agree that Baylor alumni have clout and they definitely tried to use it when the Pac-16 would have left them out.

            For the Big Ten, I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever that they’d add Iowa State. Kansas is a very different matter – while they don’t add value for football, they’re one of the very few schools where the blue blood basketball program is so uniquely valuable (Duke, UNC and Kentucky being the others) that they’re essentially a no-brainer to add *if* they can come alone (meaning not having to bring Kansas State). Note that the Kansas third tier TV rights deal is the second-highest in the Big 12 after Texas and the Longhorn Network, so that shows how much KU basketball in particular would be worth to the Big Ten Network or another conference network. (Believe me – I have no personal love for the Jayhawks with the Illini – Bill Self history, but from an objective standpoint, they would elevate the entire value of Big Ten basketball programming in a unique way that can’t be compared to anyone other than the other 3 blue bloods that I mentioned above.)

            I’ve said before that the most valuable semi-realistic additions to the Big Ten (meaning that the B1G isn’t taking Florida from the SEC or UNC from the ACC) that don’t involve Texas are Oklahoma and Kansas. Frankly, that’s probably the most valuable possible non-Texas pair that could be added to the SEC, as well. The core issue continues to be that Kansas can’t really decide to leave on its own – there is enough Kansas State political influence that KU can’t proactively break up the Big 12.

            Like

          3. Mike

            Alan –


            I do think the next round of realignment won’t be about carriage for cable channels. It will be about ratings.

            The Pac-12 has to (or should) do something big.

            Following the PAC 12 from afar, it seems fairly dysfunctional. One scenario to keep an eye on is the creation of a whole new conference, similar to how the original Big 12 was made. It wouldn’t shock me to see Texas and USC get together and decide in 2025* they are making a new conference starting with the California and Texas eight. Make godfather offers to the schools they want after that, giving them cover to drop the little brothers.

            Central Pacific Conference

            Central

            Texas
            Texas Tech
            Baylor
            TCU
            Kansas
            Oklahoma
            Colorado
            Utah

            Pacific

            Cal
            Stanford
            USC
            UCLA
            Oregon
            Washington
            Arizona St
            Arizona

            Feel free to swap the mountain/Arizona schools

            *PAC12 GOR expires 2024, Big 12 contract expires 2025.

            Like

          4. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Mike – The Athletic’s Andy Staples has suggested that as well. I think the scenario you described is extremely viable.

            Marc – I was never suggesting that the Pac-12 could pull this off on it’s own. Texas and Oklahoma have all the leverage right now, but with ESPN & FOX putting the new B-12 contracts on the back burner, that may be changing. Granted, both the B1G and the SEC would take Texas and Oklahoma in a heartbeat, but the P-12 is the only viable option for them to bring along their little brothers. ESPN & FOX are signaling that they aren’t willing to overpay for the B-12 like they did 10 years ago.

            Like

          5. @Mike – My general feeling is that the Pac-12 might not be happy about their revenue figures, but it’s not dysfunctional. To the contrary, the schools very much like and respect each other and they’re the most academically and culturally aligned P5 league other than the Big Ten.

            The Big 12 is essentially the opposite: they’re currently satisfied with the revenue, but they don’t like or trust each other at all. It’s ultimately a marriage of convenience where they’re living on an earthquake fault line. Things might be fine for years, but when the moment comes when the Earth starts moving (AKA Texas), the house is at risk of being totally destroyed. That’s why, no matter how much the Big 12 might be making more than the Pac-12 right now, it’s ultimately the Pac-12 in a stronger position and why the Big 12 can’t realistically poach other P5 leagues. Think of it this way: the Big 12 without UT, OU and KU is a G5 league. Meanwhile, you can remove the top 4 most valuable schools in the Pac-12 (take your pick) and you’re still going to be left with multiple flagships and/or elite schools that will definitely continue being a P5 league.

            I always caution people that the singular strength of Texas as an individual school masks so many underlying issues with the Big 12. Texas is the Big 12’s top academic school, top recruiting area, top national brand, top 3 TV markets (and top 4 out of 5), largest and fastest-growing population base, etc. There’s no other school where it is #1 in virtually every relevant metric for a conference. The fact that they have an actual history of being a flight risk (see the SWC break-up to create the Big 12 and the 2010 Pac-16 discussions) on top of it all is totally different from, say, USC’s relationship with the Pac-12 or UNC’s relationship with the ACC.

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          6. Brian

            Mike,

            I don’t see how WSU and OrSU aren’t just as politically protected as OkSU, TT, Baylor and TCU. Saying you’re starting a new conference is just semantics. If a conference wants UW and/or UNike, they have to take the little brothers as well.

            The only way little brothers get dropped going forward is if a super league forms, where they could easily turn down the likes of UW rather than take WSU (same for UNike and OrSU). Only then would the state governments think about letting one go. USC and Stanford could leave the P12 because they’re private, but Stanford wouldn’t leave Cal and UCLA. USC might consider it to chase CFB money.

            Like

          7. Mike

            @Frank – I don’t follow too closely, but it seems agreements on anything in the PAC12 are an adventure the last few years. They really struggled to find a commissioner and I think last year USC and UCLA refused to extend the GOR. How much of a revenue gap between the Big Ten and the SEC will USC and UCLA tolerate? It seems every other article from Jon Wilner mentions how problematic the revenue gap is.

            @Brian –


            I don’t see how WSU and OrSU aren’t just as politically protected as OkSU, TT, Baylor and TCU. Saying you’re starting a new conference is just semantics. If a conference wants UW and/or UNike, they have to take the little brothers as well.

            I think they are politically protected as long as they are in the Pac12. In my scenario, the Texas/California 8 have said they are leaving. They’ll invite UO and UW but what leverage does anyone in Oregon or Washington have over the Texas/California eight? The Texas/California eight know Washington/Oregon/Oklahoma/etc politicians won’t regulate both their P5 schools to the Mountain West. They’ll take Oregon and Washington or move on knowing they’ll come eventually be available.

            A big risk in my scenario is Texas politicians making a push for Houston and SMU* leaving Texas in a very SWC heavy division. If my scenario is going to play out, it will have to be quick to prevent meddling.

            *and Rice! just for Loki.

            Like

          8. Brian

            Mike,

            Even if the CA 4 leave, which I don’t believe they would, they still have 8 teams left in the P12 and it would remain a P5 conference. I don’t think the states would free up UW and UNike. The P12 might decide they can no longer really be an academically elite conference and backfill with some CA schools for recruiting (SDSU and Fresno St?), and maybe Boise and BYU because they’d need the brands (or UNLV for the market). Or they might merge with the best remaining B12 schools. And they might ban games against the CA 4 (and TX 4) as punishment.

            Like

          9. ccrider55

            “ and I think last year USC and UCLA refused to extend the GOR. ”

            There was/is no extension being offered/asked until a new rights deal negotiation. I believe they said they may consider that then, an inter conference negotiation tactic.

            I no longer have the insights of a former PAC administrator as he passed away over a year ago. Regarding 2011 and the almost P16 his opinion was they dodged a giant headache. Dealing with UT and the attendant Texas politics was something he, and he implied many other Pac administrators, would like to deal with unless absolutely necessary. USC can be difficult at times, but they have been and remain solid conference members.

            Like

      3. Brian

        Alan from Baton Rouge,

        I know you aren’t being serious, because you know the SEC would never take Baylor and TCU. The P12 might make another run at the P16 as Mike notes, but almost none of the other 8 would find a P5 partner.

        KU is the only other school that would be broadly desirable (AAU academics, MBB blue blood, would add a new state for conference networks). The SEC could pair them with Missouri. The B10 could further weaken B10W football by adding them. The P12 would probably prefer them to a little brother (esp. OkSU). I doubt the ACC wants to expand that far.

        But if UT and OU were looking to leave, why would they choose the P12? The money (and CFB focus) would be much better elsewhere. I think UT showed it’s cards last time around – it wants to stay in the B12 and be the/a king. Would they get enough power in the P12 to make it worth taking less money? I don’t think so.

        Like

        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Brian – during the last round of realignment, ESPN & FOX made the business decision to overpay for the B-12, rather than blow up all their other contracts. With the B1G, B-12, and Pac-12 tier 1 contracts expiring at close to the same time, and ESPN as the sole SEC TV partner beginning in 2024, I don’t know if ESPN and FOX will overpay again for Texas to keep its fiefdom. Texas wants power, but it also likes money. I’m sure Longhorn fans aren’t happy about A&M catching up to them in the revenue/facilities arms race.

          Assuming Texas and OU can’t politically leave their little brothers, I think the PAC is the only viable option. I can’t see the B1G agreeing to expand to 18 with two schools that don’t make the top 200 in university rankings. Nebraska is the worst school in the B1G, and its still pretty good. There’s a lot of academic snobbery in the Pac-12, but as I stated earlier, they already have Oregon St and Washington St.

          I think the bottom line is, both the B1G and the SEC would like to have Texas and Oklahoma, but if the Pac-12 really cares about being relevant in football and increasing revenue, they NEED Texas and Oklahoma. The Pac could accept little brothers and the Pac would be more amenable to any Tier 3 extortion since the P12N is worthless in its present state.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Alan from Baton Rouge,

            Yes, last time they overpaid some probably (maybe they think it worked out fine financially). But the big overpayment was LHN and that seems unlikely to be repeated since the little 8 formed a streaming B12N on ESPN+. LHN will survive as a streaming channel, but the revenue will become more reasonable. Heck, that extra money could go to the conference deal instead.

            If the CFP is expanding, then B12 games all gain some value because they impact an autobid. I think the B12 TV package will be quite healthy yet again. They get lots of UT and OU games plus any highly ranked teams, and also KU and others in hoops.

            Assuming Texas and OU can’t politically leave their little brothers, I think the PAC is the only viable option. I can’t see the B1G agreeing to expand to 18 with two schools that don’t make the top 200 in university rankings. Nebraska is the worst school in the B1G, and its still pretty good. There’s a lot of academic snobbery in the Pac-12, but as I stated earlier, they already have Oregon St and Washington St.

            No, but in part that’s because nobody wants to go to 18 anyway. The B10 might expand to 16 with one weak little brother if UT brought enough extra revenue, especially because the midwest is growing so slowly, but they would definitely push to get UT/OU or UT/KU or OU/KU instead. The SEC might go to 16 with a little brother to get UT or OU. But probably nobody wants 18 so those 4 could only go to the P12 as a block.

            I think the bottom line is, both the B1G and the SEC would like to have Texas and Oklahoma, but if the Pac-12 really cares about being relevant in football and increasing revenue, they NEED Texas and Oklahoma. The Pac could accept little brothers and the Pac would be more amenable to any Tier 3 extortion since the P12N is worthless in its present state.

            But would that conference pay much more than the B12 does? The B12 has most of UT’s and OU’s rivals, which would be lost if the move, plus the B12 has better start times already.

            Like

          2. @Brian – I think we have to look at the cost of the LHN holistically for ESPN. In terms of rights fees to the single school of Texas in a vacuum, it could be looked at as an overpayment. However, ESPN might be looking at it that it’s cheaper for them from a holistic total college football landscape perspective to pay those LHN fees (which effectively keeps the Big 12 together) than dealing with a more powerful Big Ten or SEC that has Texas (either of which would have pricing power that would eclipse anything in US sports other than the NFL) or an expanded Pac-12 that would rise to Big Ten/SEC-level power. An extra $20 million per year that goes to Texas for the LHN that keeps the Big 12 alive could be better for ESPN than having to pay several hundred million dollars per year more to another P5 league that adds Texas and Oklahoma. The additional rights fees to a P5 league that gets UT and OU could very well be more than what the entire Big 12 gets right now due to the exponential value of synergy (e.g. UT/OU vs. USC/UCLA, Ohio State/Michigan, FSU/Clemson, Alabama/Florida, etc.).

            Like

          3. FrankTheAg

            I don’t think the Longhorns can get an SEC invite anymore than FSU, Clemson, Louisville or Georgia Tech can get one. OU without question can though.

            Like

          4. @FrankTheAg – If you’re intimating that Texas wouldn’t get an SEC invite because they cover the same market as Texas A&M, I don’t agree at all. Texas is a uniquely powerful national school and brand. It’s similar to Notre Dame – the Big Ten will still take the Irish in a heartbeat even though their market is already covered within the league. At the same time, there’s value in effectively owning the entire state of Texas with a UT/A&M combination and shutting all of the other Power Five leagues out of that market.

            Granted, this is all water under the bridge. It’s Texas that doesn’t want the SEC as opposed to the other way around. There’s little doubt to me that the SEC, Big Ten and every single other P5 conference would take the Longhorns *alone* within 2 seconds if they wanted to move. That’s not even a debate – I saw UT as the single most valuable school for conference realignment purposes for every power league over 10 years ago and nothing has changed my mind at that point. It’s if/when UT starts insisting on taking 3 or more schools along with them that makes it much more complicated (and why the Big 12 keeps surviving).

            Like

          5. Brian

            Frank the Tank,

            I understand the financial big picture argument, but I still think they overpaid for LHN. UT wanted the exposure more than the money. ESPN could have paid less and still gotten LHN.

            But when you bring up the big picture, I don’t think you properly value UT. Would the B10 or SEC get a big bump from ESPN for adding UT? Of course. But ESPN would get a commensurate bump in ratings and ad revenue. It’s not like ESPN doesn’t profit from these deals despite the increase in costs, it’s just that their margin may shrink a little as a percentage.

            FrankTheAg,

            I’ve heard the veto power argument, but I’m not sure it really applies. Neither UL nor GT would make financial sense anyway since the SEC owns those markets already. Clemson is getting more and more attractive under Dabo, but SC isn’t a large state and they already have SC (if they could go back in time and trade SC for Clemson, I bet they would). Unless the SEC needed numbers for some reason, Clemson isn’t realistic. FSU doesn’t really bring anything that UF doesn’t since UF has the larger fan base, but in the right circumstances I could see FSU getting in (as a partner for OU for example – 1 east, 1 west) because the state is so large.

            UT has a larger fan base than TAMU, is the flagship in a huge state, and would more strongly bring DFW into SEC territory. UT is an excellent academic school as well. TAMU wouldn’t like it, and I don’t think UT would want it either (being seen as following TAMU into the SEC would hurt their pride) but there is too much money available for the SEC to turn it down if it was on the table. The LHN might become a deal killer, though. There is zero chance the SEC would let UT have an advantage like that over everyone else.

            Like

          6. FrankTheAg

            I’ve heard from very reputable A&M insiders that the veto is not a myth. The same insiders who were 100% accurate a decade ago. A&M and the SEC came to an agreement that if A&M joined the SEC (back during the final discussion in August of 2011), it would be the only school in the state of Texas in the SEC.

            No, I don’t “have a link” but ask some other A&M folks with connections and I bet you will hear the same thing.

            The track record of these guys is solid and I tend to believe them.

            Like

          7. bullet

            Big 12 gets better slightly better ratings than the ACC and much better than the Pac 12. Nobody overpaid.

            I do think Fox and ESPN are sitting on the Big 12 until they see how much of the Big 10 they can get. There are only so many over the air slots and the networks would want to get as much of the Big 10 as they could.

            Like

        2. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Frank the Ag – The SEC veto is a myth! Certainly the other schools would seriously consider the effect of adding an in-state school on the current member, but to think one member could veto the wishes of the other 13 is not based in fact. The SEC is not the UN Security Council.

          This may be considered ancient history, but when Florida State was an independent, Florida actually sponsored their petition for admission to the SEC on several occasions. In the early 90s, after A&M said no, adding Arkansas & FSU was a done deal, until Bobby Bowden stepped in, citing the much easier path to national championships through the ACC. Bobby Bowden is the ONLY reason FSU did not join the SEC in 1992. The entire college landscape was different back then. GA Tech and Tulane (no one ever mentions Tulane as an in-state SEC expansion candidate) quit the SEC in the 60s. In the late 80s, I recall LSU’s total athletic budget being less than $20m. In the 90s, LSU’s defensive coordinator lived across the street from me in my middle class neighborhood.

          Now, the stakes are higher, the money is exponentially bigger, the presidents are more involved, and the football coach wouldn’t be making those calls like Bowden and Bobby Dodd did.

          Now, hard feelings aside, if adding Florida State, Miami, Clemson, Texas, Louisville, GA Tech, or even Tulane, Baylor and TCU made sense, the SEC would do it. The question is, do any make sense?

          TEXAS is the only clear yes, but I doubt their Longhorn pride would ever allow them to follow A&M.

          Like

    2. @Mike – I’m not surprised. Fox and ESPN are more likely worried about setting a really high bar for their Big Ten negotiations that are coming sooner as the Big Ten would inevitably ask for significantly more than what the Big 12 would have received in an early extension. The Big Ten is going to get paid no matter what, so they’d rather have the Big Ten set the price as a more stable and bankable product (even if it’s more expensive) than a more unpredictable Big 12. It’s a lot easier to tell the Big 12 (and Pac-12, for that matter) that they just paid $x for the Big Ten and their leagues are worth y% less.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        Interesting. Stanford cuts wrestling, says money/donations won’t matter…and then restore. That’s not the interesting thing. It appears Cornell’s Rob Koll (one of the top five coaches is moving to Palo Alto. Cornell website already shows a new head coach bio. Rumors started only a day or so ago.

        Like

    3. Brian

      Mike,

      I don’t think it is all that surprising. The deal has 4 years left with a lot of major sports/media deals ending between now and then. If Fox and ESPN don’t know what else they are committed to (“between now and 2024, deals also will come up for the NFL, Major League Baseball’s package with ESPN, the NHL and UEFA Champions League”) and for how much, it makes it much harder to sign a new deal.

      You also have the potential playoff expansion to factor in, which might impact the regular season too. And we’re coming off a pandemic so everyone is facing reduced financial numbers and wondering if everything will go as usual this upcoming season.

      That’s a lot of uncertainty to deal with all at once. And with 4 years left, they don’t need to. I think early discussions usually start about 2 years in advance, and by then there will be a little more clarity.

      Like

  25. Colin

    A twelve team playoff really doesn’t make sense versus sixteen teams. It takes four rounds either way so 12 vs 16 does not shorten the season. It would give more opportunity for non-P5 intermittent powerhouses, e.g., BYU, Cincy, USF, to line up against the Big Boys. Four more playoff games will bring in big revenue. There is no downside to a 16 team playoff vs 12 team playoff. Eight team playoff vs 16 team playoff is another debate because it adds another week to the season.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Colin,

      I think most people agree with you, including me.

      Potential upsides of 12:
      * The top 4 still get rewarded, in this case with a bye
      * CFB would struggle to find 8 good windows for playoff games over one weekend during December or January with the NFL potentially on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, especially if they play on campuses (night games in Madison in December?).
      * Fewer “undeserving” teams get a chance at the title
      * You could give an auotbid to every conference champ (P5 + G5) and have minimal at-larges. They wouldn’t do this, but some people strongly feel that you should have to win your conference to get in.
      * You get 2 equally exciting weekends with 4 games each rather than the diminishing returns of a larger tournament (8 – 4 – 2 – 1). The second weekend of March Madness feels like a letdown.

      Like

  26. Jersey Bernie

    Article on the impact of COVID on recruiting. Discusses those kids who are not four or five stars, but would have gotten offers to P5 or G5 schools, but have now been squeezed by the extra year given to current college players and the open transfer market. This article discusses NJ players, but is certainly applicable nationwide.

    https://www.nj.com/highschoolsports/2021/06/the-lost-recruits-of-covid-how-the-virus-is-robbing-nj-athletes-of-college-scholarships.html

    Like

  27. Donald

    Frank, as a Nebraska alum I would be thrilled if the Big Ten lured two of Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas into the conference. I do believe, however, that this outcome is highly unlikely to occur.

    Texas appears quite content with the current situation; even if Oklahoma departed with a friend (Oklahoma State to the SEC, Kansas to the Big Ten) Texas would quickly enlist a couple of their exiled SWC brethren or strong G5 programs (e.g., Cincinnati, Colorado State) to maintain the Big XII, or would create a Notre Dame-ACC style relationship with the remnants of the conference. I just don’t see the Longhorns relinquishing their state-of-Texas-centric schedule and control of a conference for an additional $10M (or perhaps more) annual media payouts.

    While the Oklahoma administration might have a preference for joining the Big Ten, they would surely be reluctant to cut close ties with Texas and be a geographic (and to some extent cultural) outlier, plus their fan base would surely revolt at such a decision. The Big Ten has not exactly covered itself in glory recently, and in terms of gridiron glory the Cornhuskers’ record since joining the Big Ten is not a strong selling point to the Sooners’ supporters. If Oklahoma does decide to leave the Big XII, the SEC strikes me as much more attractive to the fans and the athletic department.

    Do you believe that there is a significant chance that Oklahoma and/or Texas would seriously consider the Big Ten? (I’m convinced that Kansas would leap at the chance of a berth in the conference, but I foresee them joining only if the Big Ten can land but one of the Big Two).

    Like

  28. Mike

    Last week Frank tweeted this:

    and now Dennis Dodd (link below) is reporting that the AAC/Boise marriage is over. Apparently Boise found the Big West was not a suitable place for their other sports

    Like

    1. Marc

      Interesting explanation of why there is a growing consensus for 12:

      In the current system, there are (in effect) four at-large slots. In an 8-team playoff with 6 autobids, there are effectively two fewer at-large slots. “If there are six automatic bids, for example, a team ranked No. 4 or No. 5 could theoretically be left out and a team ranked No. 18, for example, makes the field.”

      There is one surprising drawback. The most likely scenario is that the first round would be played on campus. This means the top four teams get the benefit of a bye. But they don’t get the big gate and concession revenue that comes from playing one more home game.

      The round of 8 would be played at the traditional big-name bowls. However, the current playoff contract has six top-tier bowls, not four. What happens to the other two in the years they don’t host a game? I am assuming that first-round playoff losers would be bowl eligible, but the scheduling for them would be a hot mess.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Marc – I would assume 4 of the NY6 would become quarterfinals, 2 would become semifinals, and the championship would be bid out.

        Example: quarterfinals take place at the Peach, Fiesta, Orange & Cotton bowls; semifinals take place at the Sugar and Rose bowls. I would suggest this makes sense as the permanent set up, but you could rotate the semis as is currently the case. The bowls that aren’t hosting semis would host quarterfinals.

        Like

      2. Brian

        Marc,

        https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/momentum-rapidly-growing-for-college-football-playoff-expansion-to-eight-or-more-teams/

        Dennis Dodd has a source saying another option is to go to 8 with no autobids. That allows the SEC to earn lots of at-larges, but the P12 and G5 might protest.

        In an eight-team field, speculation has centered around five automatic qualifiers from the Power Five, something that wasn’t possible with only four slots in the current CFP. One source said there might be no automatic berths in an expanded field; however, weight would likely be given to conference champions.

        That would prevent the equivalent of an NCAA Tournament “bid stealer.” Example: If Northwestern at 8-4 would had beaten Ohio State in the 2018 Big Ten Championship Game, the Wildcats could have earned an automatic berth in an expanded bracket that otherwise would have gone to a higher ranked at-large team from another conference.

        They can say that there are 4 at-larges now, but it’s apples and oranges. It’s more like 3 autobids (SEC, ACC, B10/B12) and an at-large. It’s not like 4 SEC teams are going to get the 4 spots. Nobody has ever gotten 3 spots. If the result is 3 P5 champs plus an at-large, then moving to 8 is an increase in the truly available at-larges. Especially if they limit the autobids by CFP ranking or record.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Marc,

          I doubt that playoff losers would be made bowl eligible. As you note, they could only schedule those 8 teams against each other, and on very short notice. They’d also face player safety issues (meaningless bowl game on top of a playoff game) and many players might opt out anyway.

          Like

          1. @Brian – Yes, I think you’re correct here. Add in the naturally depressed fan interest of teams coming off a playoff loss and I think the bowls would avoid them entirely, anyway.

            Like

        2. @Brian – With the way that article is positioned, I get the impression that an 8-team playoff without any auto-bids is a straw man proposal to drive more interest to the 12-team playoff. The Northwestern example is to provide a supposedly worst case scenario for P5 auto-bids, which a 12-team playoff would mitigate greatly. I truly don’t see how we’d realistically have playoff expansion without P5 champ auto-bids as a minimum. We might as well just stay at a 4-team playoff if P5 auto-bids (and I mean true, 100% guaranteed auto-bids for all of the P5 champs without any subjective rankings or records requirements) aren’t part of it.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Frank the Tank,

            I don’t think it is quite a straw man, but I agree it is unlikely. I could see it as a potential option if the scheduling for 12 teams reaches an impasse. Then they back down to 8, but throw a bone to those who want more teams in by not giving the autobids. As the article says, if there are no autobids, conference titles would carry more weight than they do now. So any 2-loss P5 champ would likely get in.

            I think there may be some disagreement right now over whether 3-loss (or more) P5 champs deserve an autobid anyway. I could see some sort of minimum conditions being put on the P5 autobids, partly as a way to appease the G5. It would also justify the G5 autobid having conditions.

            Like

          2. Mike

            I think there may be some disagreement right now over whether 3-loss (or more) P5 champs deserve an autobid anyway.

            To me, the “bid stealer” is a feature not a bug. No team with X amount of losses is truly out of the playoff picture until they are eliminated from the division race. That makes the second tier of games more meaningful.

            Like

          3. @Mike – Yes, I agree. To me, that’s really the larger point of playoff expansion: it’s not as much about who makes the playoff in the end, but rather that many more teams are in the playoff *hunt* during the regular season. That drives up the meaning (and financial value) of second tier games, keeps many more fan bases involved at a national level, and makes the conference championship games significantly more important. As applied to last year’s Big Ten Championship Game, it isn’t just about whether Ohio State holds serve with its subjective ranking with Northwestern being nothing more than potential spoiler for playoff purposes, but rather that the winner unambiguously gets into the playoff no matter what (which creates a totally different type of atmosphere).

            Like

          4. Brian

            Frank the Tank,

            The problem is that the CFP made the regular season mean less. Expanding the CFP will make the problem worse by taking up all the air in the room all season long. Fans of more teams can keep their dream alive longer, sure. But it will also be more depressing when they get knocked out of the division race. We used to talk about bowl eligibility, but now that’s basically meaningless. And fans of everyone else (other conferences, neutral fans, etc.) would rather watch the big brands play (according to TV ratings), so I don’t see this adding financial value to the regular season.

            As far as CCGs, just as often (maybe more often?) the CCG also loses a lot of value because 1 or both teams are already locked in by ranking if the playoff expands. In an 8-team playoff with 6 autobids, the #1-2 teams will get an at-large even if they lose. Assuming most favorites win, then the #3-4 are likely safe. If the CCG becomes OSU is in no matter what but NW gets in with a win, does that increase value? And does the playoff value increase if “Cinderellas” get in? Experience says no. And all that gets worse with 12 teams.

            Like

      3. Brian

        Marc,

        I doubt that playoff losers would be made bowl eligible. They get their postseason game and that’s probably it. Especially if the bowls are hosting playoff games.

        Otherwise they could only pair CFP losers in bowl games (for scheduling), and then they’d face player safety issues.

        Like

  29. Marc

    One thing I have always disliked about potential college football playoff byes: it puts a lot of visibility on the committee choice for #4 vs. #5, since one of those two gets the very substantial advantage of a bye. There is often very little principled distinction between #4 and #5, and yet the distinction matters a lot.

    In a 16-team playoff, that distinction matters a lot less, because everyone is playing a first-round game regardless. #4 gets a slightly easier game than #5, but it is not that big of a difference. Of course, the committee still has to choose which 16 teams get in, but the #17 team has such a miniscule chance of winning the championship that it is a lot less meaningful if the committee gets that wrong.

    #4 teams have already won the current playoff format, so the team in that position has a real chance.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Marc,

      For years they were happy with having #2 vs #3 as the split. They have #4 vs #5 as the cutoff now while also balancing #2 vs #3 for “home” field advantage. For whatever deluded reason, they seem confident they can accurately rank the top 4 teams.

      While #4 (and presumably #5) has a chance at the title, does #13 (or even #9)? Or are we just letting in more teams to show there is access?

      And if they don’t favor the top 4 with a bye, what are the unintended consequences? Injuries?
      Resting players to avoid injuries? Players choosing to sit out the first round?

      Like

  30. Kevin

    My preference is a plus one or perhaps a 4 team playoff after the bowls. The bowls provide the most access to a significant number of fan bases. Certainly they have lost luster with the playoff running to the side of the bowls but picking the top 2 or top 4 teams after the bowls would renew interest in bowl season. We will still be able to reward the players with a meaningful bowl trip and crown a true champion, especially with 4 teams. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem like a possibility.

    What happens to the Purdue’s and Minnesota’s of the world? They will never have a post season in football.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Kevin,

      I agree, that ship has sailed. It seems highly unlikely they would go back to a +1 or +3 format. I think their view is basically that teams can play in bowls or a playoff, but not both.

      The bowl season will continue to be diminished, but it honestly hasn’t meant much to most people outside of the very top bowls for decades. There will continue to be bowls for the other teams, but the viewership will stay tiny.

      Like

  31. Mike

    Like

    1. Mike

      Surprise of the day.

      Like

    2. Brian

      Mike,

      Here’s an article about it.

      https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31604970/college-football-playoff-consider-expanding-12-team-format

      The proposal calls for the bracket to include the six highest-ranked conference champions and the six remaining highest-ranked teams as determined by the CFP selection committee.

      “No conference would qualify automatically and there would be no limit on the number of participants from a conference,” the proposal states.

      Under the proposal for a 12-team format, the four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded 1-4 and receive a first-round bye. Teams 5-12 would play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team. The quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games, and the national championship game would remain at a neutral site.

      The first-round games would take place on campus sometime during the two-week period following conference championship games. The quarterfinals would be played on Jan. 1 — or Jan. 2 when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday — and on an adjacent day.

      While the dates of the semifinal games and championship game aren’t determined, the report said the semifinals likely would not be played as a doubleheader. The CFP bracket would follow the selection committee’s rankings, with no changes to avoid rematches of teams that might have played during the regular season or are from the same conference.

      The working group didn’t include which bowls might be a part of the CFP in the future, but it did recommend that if “traditional bowls” host games, teams would be assigned to those bowls for quarterfinal games with the priority going to the higher-seeded team.

      “They could reach consensus on some other model,” Hancock said. “They could reach consensus on this, or they could decide to retain the current format. They could endorse a different model.”

      Like

      1. Brian

        Note: no autobids. I think they really see a weak champ getting in as a problem. 6 champs are still assured, but it could be multiple G5s if there’s a weak P5 champ. Of course that committee can rank the teams in any order so they can always elevate the P5 champs above all but 1 G5 champ.

        The top 4 conference champs get the 4 byes – that’s a lot more credit given to conference championships than now. But the other 2 conference champs don’t necessarily get seeds 5 and 6.

        Home games in mid-December. Wait for the complaints when Miami (FL) has to play in Madison.

        Quarterfinals on or around NYD.

        Semifinals not all on 1 day. That’s a mistake – don’t give one team more time to prepare.

        They don’t give dates for the semis or NCG, but they are running into the NFL playoffs and extending the season. Look for some ratings flops.

        Like

        1. @Brian – My other takeaway: the powers that be apparently LOVE the CFP committee even more than I thought since they’re giving them even more power with this type of format. I thought a potential upside of playoff expansion would be to allocate part of the playoff qualifiers to 100% unambiguous on-the-field P5 conference champs without any subjective rankings qualifiers. Apparently, the powers that be still want subjectivity to rule the day.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Frank the Tank,

            On the other hand, this satisfies the G5 without ever explicitly giving the G5 an autobid. It leaves more room in negotiations for how to split the money. It also opens the door for a P6, with a G4 that never gets in the CFP.

            I think they are too worried about ratings to want an 8-5 P5 champ getting in, and for whatever deluded reason they believe in the committee (at least enough to find the top 6 champs). But as you say, not everyone has had a chance to be heard on this yet.

            As I noted, though, giving the top 4 seeds to champs is more credit than champs have been getting in the CFP so far.

            Like

          2. bullet

            Really. Killing the influence of the committee was a big plus of the 5-1-2 or 5-0-3 model. A 5-1-4 is another way to minimize the influence of the committee. 6 conference champs go straight to quarterfinals while the other 4 teams play their way in.

            Now they not only pick the 12, they pick the byes and the home field advantage in the first round.

            Like

      2. @Brian – I’m very surprised that there are no Power Five conference champ auto-bids recommended here. I’d like to see the Big Ten and Pac-12 provide their thoughts since they weren’t a part of the working group, though.

        It’s also shocking to me that the ND AD (who was part of the working group) actually signed off on allowing for the top 4 conference champs receiving byes (as opposed to the top 4 overall). That makes little sense to me to suddenly have that restriction. I have no love lost for Notre Dame, but if they’re a top 4 team, then they ought to get a bye and it’s irrelevant to me that they’re an independent.

        I saw elsewhere that there wouldn’t be any NFL-style reseeding of matchups between rounds, which would be a mistake IMHO. There will likely be 2 to 3 weeks between the first round and the quarterfinals circa New Year’s Day, so there shouldn’t even be a timing issue there.

        To be clear, if this ends up being the final format, I still like it much better than the current 4-team playoff format. I’m just a bit surprised at some of the details coming out here.

        Like

        1. Mike


          It’s also shocking to me that the ND AD (who was part of the working group) actually signed off on allowing for the top 4 conference champs receiving byes (as opposed to the top 4 overall). That makes little sense to me to suddenly have that restriction. I have no love lost for Notre Dame, but if they’re a top 4 team, then they ought to get a bye and it’s irrelevant to me that they’re an independent.

          I’m guessing that was one of a few concessions made that resulted in no AQs. 12 playoff teams makes independence significantly easer as long as non-ACC teams continue to schedule them.

          Like

        2. Brian

          Frank the Tank,

          Maybe Swarbrick recognized that without a CCG, ND should be treated differently. Everyone else had to face a risk ND never faces. They can still be #5, host an easy-ish game vs #12 (making millions) and then play #4 in a bowl.

          The NCAA doesn’t believe in reseeding. Maybe after a few years they’ll change it.

          Old bowl system > BCS > CFP > expanded CFP

          Like

          1. @Brian – Yes, thinking about this more, I believe you’re correct there about the lack of a CCG for ND. That part makes sense with the trade-off that it’s an expanded playoff that’s going to have more at-large slots that are open to ND.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Yes, it really just balances the schedule for them vs the top 4. They get the equivalent of a bye every year by not playing in a CCG.

            Like

  32. KEVIN

    I am curious where the Rose Bowl sits in this plan. if the B1G and Pac 12 Champs are both in the top 4, who then hosts the Rose Bowl? Does it go to the higher ranked champ? That could be dicey.

    Like

    1. @Kevin – I think taking the higher ranked champ between the Big Ten or Pac-12 is the only way that you can do it for the Rose Bowl.

      Maybe the Rose Bowl ends up being the only permanent quarterfinal bowl, which at least gives more chances to either the Big Ten or Pac-12 to send its champ to that game.

      Like

      1. FrankTheAg

        I think there is a real chance the quarterfinal round ends up on college campuses. It could happen when this proposal is finalized or if not then in 2025 when the ESPN / BCS contracts end.

        Like

        1. Brian

          FrankTheAg,

          It’s not happening in this proposal, especially if they want to make the change soon. The bowls are part of the current deal that runs for 5 more years and could veto the expansion. Besides, the powers that be respect the tradition tied into the major bowls. The Rose Bowl pulls better ratings than other games of equal merit because its the Rose Bowl. The same is true, to a lesser extent, for the Sugar Bowl.

          Besides, I don’t see anyone wanting to play games in Madison/Columbus/Ann Arbor/… around 1/1. That’s a recipe for disaster.

          Like

          1. Kevin

            Totally agree Brian. Perhaps people that live in warmer states don’t understand how much people in the Midwest and north are mesmerized by the weather, beauty and history of the Rose Bowl played on 1/1 at 4PM Central. It’s part of Americana like the Kentucky Derby or other similar events that are uniquely American.

            I live in Packer country and playoff tickets in January aren’t always in high demand. Sitting outside in 10 degree weather with the wind blowing is no fun. Many season ticket holders will dump their tix to watch on TV. Plus, in my opinion, college fans are not as hardy as NFL fans.

            You still have weather risks in early to mid December but not as much as January. I am also suspect of these campus December games. These stadiums aren’t set up for that type of weather. Will they have running water? Not sure as many are winterized.

            Like

          2. There’s a more practical reason why I think the bowls are still going to be incorporated: they’re the contractual vehicle through which the P5 are able to legally obtain more playoff revenue compared to everyone else.

            Note that the current CFP contract doesn’t refer to the P5 conferences by name when it comes to those that receive a larger share of the revenue (regardless of whether they even make the playoff itself). Instead, the CFP contract refers to the “conferences that have contracts with the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls” as the ones that receive larger amounts of revenue. It’s a superficially neutral and “fair” clause (as the AAC or any other G5 league could get a contract with one of those bowls in theory), but we all know that the practical effect is that it enshrines the higher revenue for the P5.

            In any event, yes, going to Pasadena (or Arizona or Florida or anywhere that you can comfortably wear shorts outside in January) is what Midwesterners actually WANT. I love Chicago like few other people and am a massive Bears fans, but I have zero desire to watch a playoff game (college or pro) in Soldier Field or any other outdoor Midwest venue in January. (I distinctly remember being in LA for the Illini 2008 Rose Bowl appearance and a Lions-Bears game in Chicago happened to be on TV. It was snowing with a real temperature of 4 degrees with negative wind chill. Meanwhile, it was 75 degrees and sunny in LA with no humidity. I was VERY seriously reevaluating why the heck I was still living in the Midwest.)

            Like

    2. Brian

      Kevin,

      I think the current system would apply. Locations are determined by the best advantage for the higher seeds in order. The B10 is so far from all the sites that it may depend on which other 3 teams make the top 4 and who the opponents are.

      Like

      1. @Brian – My whiteboard thoughts (just thinking out loud) of how the locations could work:

        (1) All 3 contract bowls would be permanent quarterfinals with tie-ins if their respective conference partners are in the top 4. So, the best top 4 Big Ten or Pac-12 champ would go to the Rose Bowl, the best top 4 SEC or Big 12 champ would go to the Sugar Bowl, and a top 4 ACC champ (or Big Ten or SEC champ if they don’t go to the Rose/Sugar) would go to the Orange Bowl. That keeps all of the P5 conference tie-ins at least partially intact and you could schedule all of these games on New Year’s Day.

        (2) For the access bowls (Fiesta, Cotton and Peach), 1 of them would be the fourth quarterfinal and 2 of them would be semifinals, with all of them rotating each year.

        That format incorporates all of those bowls into the system, which is important since the CFP needs their agreement if they want playoff expansion prior to the current contract ending. The P5 also continue to have at least partial tie-ins to their contract bowls that turn into playoff games.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Frank the Tank,

          That would certainly appease the bowls. I just don’t know if they want to be that structured. The B10 would support the Rose Bowl having #1 OSU vs #9 USC, but I don’t think the other conferences are as tradition-bound. They don’t want to face LSU in the Sugar Bowl or Miami in the Orange Bowl. So they’d need a rule preventing “home” games for lesser seeds or to let the higher seed choose geography over bowl tie-in. It’s not like the B12 has a long history with the Sugar Bowl for their champ anyway, they just copied the B10/P12/Rose arrangement.

          They could make the Cotton Bowl the 4th permanent quarterfinal and have the B12 be its tie-in. The Rose Bowl has 2 ties because none of the bowls are near the B10 anyway.

          Like

          1. @Brian – Just to clarify, under my thinking, the tie-ins only apply to the top 4 conference champs that receive byes while their opponents would be in accordance with the playoff bracket regardless of their conferences.

            So, if there’s a #1 Ohio State and they’re the Big Ten champ, then they’re sent to the Rose Bowl. That doesn’t mean they’ll play a Pac-12 team, though – OSU will then play whoever it might be that advances in the seeded bracket.

            If it ends up that there’s #1 Ohio State and #2 USC (meaning both the Big Ten and Pac-12 champs are in the top 4), then the higher ranked tie-in gets priority and goes to the Rose Bowl (Ohio State in this example) and the other team (USC) gets slotted in a different quarterfinal bowl.

            In practicality, it means that the chances that we’ll get a traditional Big Ten champ vs. Pac-12 champ matchup again in the Rose Bowl are very low. However, the chances that *either* a Big Ten champ or a Pac-12 champ ends up in the Rose Bowl would be fairly high in a given year.

            The same logic would apply to the Sugar Bowl (which has the SEC and Big 12 tie-ins) and Orange Bowl (which has the primary ACC tie-in and secondary Big Ten and SEC tie-ins), although I agree that the other conferences might not care as much. Maybe the Rose Bowl ends up being the only bowl that gets this type of treatment that I’ve proposed for reasons even beyond the conference tie-ins. For instance, I think the Rose Bowl itself cares the most about its specific New Year’s Day time slot and would rather be a permanent quarterfinal on that day than get shifted around to host semifinals, while the other bowls might be more open to be moved around and switch between quarterfinals and semifinals.

            As I’ve said, it will be interesting to see since neither the Big Ten nor Pac-12 were involved in the working group (and they’re the ones that are going to have the strongest opinions about bowl relationships since the Rose Bowl is the relationship that matters the most to anyone).

            Like

          2. Kevin

            Thats my read as well. I think it’s helpful to have the PAC 12 in the Rose Bowl each year with the BIG. At least from a fan attendance standpoint. Now that will be lost. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Frank,

            I get that. I was just thinking about if they decide on quarterfinal locations after the first round.

            If they decide in advance, then you assign the 4 games based on just the top 4 seeds. But I think they’ll wait until after the 1st round, so they know what the pairings will be. There won’t be any reseeding, but they might change location preferences.

            Example:
            #1 OSU
            #2 OU
            #3 Clemson
            #4 AL
            #8 UT vs #9 USC
            #7 UCF vs #10 LSU
            #6 PSU vs #11 Miami
            #5 WI vs #12 UGA

            If pre-sited:
            Rose = #1 OSU vs #8 UT or #9 USC
            Sugar = #2 OU vs #7 UCF or #10 LSU
            Orange = #3 Clemson vs #6 PSU or #11 Miami
            Peach = #4 AL vs #5 WI or #12 UGA

            If any of those first round games are upsets, do the top 4 really want to keep their bowl tie-ins? The B10 (and P12) would, but would the B12, ACC or SEC?

            If they site the quarterfinals after the first round (but still no reseeding):
            Orange = #1 OSU vs #9 USC
            Rose = #2 OU vs #10 LSU
            Peach = #3 Clemson vs #11 Miami
            Sugar = #4 AL vs #12 UGA

            Which slate seems more fair?

            You could have the same issues with reseeding, just change the example. So if they can’t/won’t adjust seeding or pairings, then you have to leave flexible for location. Too many good teams are located near the major bowls.

            Like

        2. bullet

          The downside is Dallas and Atlanta can have pretty nasty weather in mid-January.

          Maybe the Fiesta would be happy being a permanent semi-final? Then you don’t have to deal with Dallas AND Atlanta weather.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Bullet,

            Good to see you back.

            The weather may suck in Dallas and Atlanta, but they have domes so the games won’t suffer.

            Like

    1. Brian

      A key excerpt:

      If you’re a fan of bowls, get ready for a gut punch. Between four to 10 bowl games could be eliminate by 2023 as the CFP implements its new system, reports Brett McMurphy of Stadium. If that happens, far less Group of 5 programs will be included in bowl games.

      That means less crazy finishes like in the Popeye’s Bowl several years ago or mid-December shootouts involving a team from the MAC. Simply put, we get more high-tier matchups at the expense of what might actually be the more entertaining games in the low- and mid-tier bowls. That’s a shame, particularly for the middle-of-the-road programs that truly appreciate and celebrate inclusion in the bowl system.

      The G5 will get a team, in the CFP, but likely at the cost of multiple bowl slots.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        cc – I don’t think O’Sullivan was ever the favorite, much less a real candidate Florida made too much of a commitment to him by building a brand new stadium. I heard LSU never really considered him due to some off-field issues that hit too close to home with what LSU is currently working through.

        The first names we heard about were TCU’s Schlossnagle and East Carolina’s Godwin. By the time Mainieri announced his retirement, Schlossnagle to A&M was pretty close to a done deal. I think Schlossnagle’s name was floated by his agent to drive up the price A&M would ultimately pay. Like O’Sullivan, I heard LSU never really considered Schlossnagle due to some off-field issues that hit too close to home with what LSU is currently working through.

        Godwin is doing a great job at East Carolina and was on Mainieri’s first staff through the 2009 CWS winning team. He’s a real candidate.

        Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco is a realistic option. He played for Skip Bertman in the 80s, his son plays for Mainieri. Some LSU supporters question his one CWS appearance in 20 years at Ole Miss.

        Pat Casey came out of nowhere. He’s about the same age as Mainieri and he’s been retired for a few years. Casey took Oregon State from nothing to 3 CWS titles. He’s a great coach but there is an issue regarding his defense of a former player at Oregon State that I didn’t think will fly at LSU right now. The question I have is, does he still have the fire in his belly to take the LSU monster of expectations?

        LSU is the easily the best and most difficult baseball program to coach in the country. LSU has about as many season ticket holders a the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins or Oakland A’s. Every year, its CWS or bust. The reality is there will never be another Skip Bertman at LSU or anywhere else. Skip won five CWS title in a ten year span. Sure, USC’s Dedeaux won more, but at the time of USC’s 20 year run, baseball was largely a non-scholarship that nobody cared about.

        The 90s were much more competitive than the 50s, 60s & 70s. And the 21st Century is much more competitive than the 90s.

        Paul Mainieri is currently the highest paid college baseball coach in America. No college baseball program makes more money than LSU. The only reason to turn down LSU baseball job is fear of unrealistic expectations.

        As I’m typing this a very respected baseball writer in Baton Rouge is reporting that LSU is offering Vandy’s Tim Corbin $3m per year to be the next LSU Baseball coach.

        Like

        1. ccrider55

          Kinda like hiring a UCLA roundball coach with Wooden like expectations. It’s tough. ( the two coaches that followed Wooden lasted only two years each, yet are the top two winning percentage coaches in UCLA history. Wooden is fourth.)

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Yes, except that UCLA wouldn’t pay Calipari or Krzyzewski money for a basketball coach and they haven’t consistently been relevant over the last 40 years. LSU Baseball has the most season ticket holders & highest attendance, is willing to pay the highest salary in college baseball, and is in the mix for the CWS almost every year. My tigers just aren’t a dynasty anymore.

            Like

  33. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Frank – for some reason, my computer won’t let me post a link. But check out the Sports Illustrated article entitled “What the Previous College Football Playoffs Would’ve Looked Like With 12 Teams.”

    In addition to money, here’s what the powers that be are looking at. 39 different schools from almost every conference would have participated in a playoff game.

    SEC: 8 schools and 19 appearances
    B1G: 7 schools and 20 appearances
    P-12: 7 schools and 11 appearances
    B-12: 5 schools and 12 appearances
    ACC: 4 schools and 11 appearances
    AAC: 4 schools and 4 appearances
    Notre Dame: 3 appearances
    MWC, MAC & Sunbelt: 1 appearance each
    CUSA: no playoff for you.

    For those of you wanting to see Southern/West Coast teams play in wintery weather in mid December, here you go!

    2014: Ole Miss @ Michigan State
    2015: Florida State @ Notre Dame
    2016: Florida State @ Michigan
    2017: Washington @ Wisconsin
    2018: Florida @ Michigan
    2019: Florida @ Wisconsin
    2020: Georgia @ Cincy

    Like

    1. Brian

      Alan,

      Here’s your link:
      https://www.si.com/college/2021/06/10/college-football-playoff-12-teams-last-seven-years

      Also from SI:
      https://www.si.com/college/2021/06/11/college-football-playoff-12-team-system-weaknesses

      Weaknesses of the proposal based on talking to ADs.

      A main one is the top 4 seeds not getting to host playoff games. Related concerns are travel for players and fans, all just to appease the bowls.

      But weather played a part in the decision, too, Bowlsby suggested.

      “I don’t think playing in East Lansing, Mich. on Jan. 7 is a good idea,” he said.

      Maybe it’s not all about placating the bowls. One conference commissioner told SI that the neutral site is a way to remove home field advantage so deep into the playoffs.

      “Alabama doesn’t want to play at Michigan in late December or vice-versa,” the commissioner says.

      The playoff’s biggest obstacle—“the sticking point,” a source says—is the Rose Bowl. The granddaddy of them all operates under a separate television contract, is historically entrenched in a specific date and time (New Year’s Day at 5 p.m. ET) and has, in the past, served as one of the more difficult negotiating partners.

      “If they’re going to be part of the six bowl rotation,” says one high-placed source, “there are going to be times when you’re not playing on New Year’s Day at 5.”

      The Rose Bowl’s longtime conference partners, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, are gearing up to protect its interest, says a Pac-12 source.

      “For at least two conferences, the Rose Bowl will have to be a part of the discussion,” the administrator says.

      The number of games gets mentioned as well, though many don’t think it’s a big deal.

      Dannen has spent much of his career at the FCS level, where teams must play 16 games with 22 fewer scholarships.

      “I’m not diminishing health and safety, but D2 and FCS play just as many games,” he says.

      I’d point out that the collisions aren’t quite as energetic at those levels.

      While he agrees with much of the model, West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons says there’s one thing he doesn’t like: the first-round losers won’t play in a bowl—unless they participate both in the playoff game and then a bowl game. That’s a longshot.

      But where there is good, there is, of course, a sprinkle of bad. The proposal keeps more teams engaged deeper into the season, yes, but “at the top end it could negate excitement around the big Game of the Century types,” says one administrator. “Highly ranked teams remain in the playoff regardless of whether they win or lose those games.”

      Like

  34. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Looking at how the CFP playoff schedule would play out as it relates to the NFL schedule, and assuming the NFL won’t move playoff games to cede Saturday back to college football, here’s how it might look if the expanded playoff would occur in 2021.

    The opening (or play-in) round takes place on Friday 12/17 and Saturday 12/18. This is two weeks after the CCGs and doesn’t go up against Army/Navy the week before. I would assume the least interesting (5 v 12) game or a warm location gets a Friday night slot. Any cold weather games would be scheduled during the day on Saturday, with Saturday being a triple header (Noon, 4p & 8p EST kickoffs). With all NFL games on Sunday or Monday, there are no conflicts.

    Quarterfinals take place on Friday 12/31 and Saturday 1/1, with one Friday late afternoon game and a triple header on Saturday. With all NFL games on Sunday or Monday, there are no conflicts.

    Semifinals would run up against the NFL’s wildcard weekend, so let’s place one semi on Friday 1/14 and the other on Monday 1/16.

    The CFP championship game could take place on Saturday 1/29 or Monday 1/31. The NFL conference championship games take place on Sunday 1/30.

    With roughly two weeks between playoff games, I don’t think playing on a Friday versus a Monday would greatly advantage or disadvantage any one team. It could be that the #1 seed gets the Friday night games, creating another incentive to be the #1 seed.

    I know Friday nights are historically not great ratings nights and the opening round may conflict with high school playoffs, but the alternative would be non-exclusive windows.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Alan,

      I think a Friday vs Monday gap between semis is too long. That is a lot of extra time to heal an injury for a player, and to gameplan for a coaching staff. Maybe Thursday and Friday, or Monday and Tuesday.

      Like

  35. Mike

    Some numbers on the expected playoff payout.

    Pac-12 schools, which currently receive approximately $9 million annually from the playoff, could see that amount soar to $27 million per school per year, according to estimates by a data research company that has advised numerous Power Five conferences over the years.

    Like

    1. Brian

      That sounds a little optimistic to me. The P12’s current $9M per school includes the Rose Bowl payout which would go away. The CFP would go from 3 games to 11 games, but the payout includes the NY6 games so it’s really going from 7 to 11 games. Earlier rounds are worth less than later rounds on a per game basis, too. At the same time, the value of TV deals is always rising so we have to factor it in too.

      Here are the CFP and NY6 bowl ratings, plus those for the BCS:
      https://www.sportsmediawatch.com/college-football-playoff-ratings-bcs/

      Average viewership (in millions):
      NCG – 26.2
      Semis – 20.7 (79%)
      NY6 – 9.5 (36%)
      Total = 105.6

      The 4 first round games should at least match the NY6, with the quarterfinals somewhere between that and the semis. If we call it 10 M per game in the first round and 15 M per quarterfinal, that brings the total to 167.6 M viewers. So I could see it doubling, and maybe even growing more. But what if they G5 demand a higher share of the money? What if scheduling issues (NFL playoffs) limit the number of viewers?

      Note: Results varied greatly by bowl. Some of that is the matchups, some the quality of games, some the time windows, and some the bowl itself.

      Viewers (in millions) as semis / NY6 games:
      Rose – 24.7 / 15.6
      Sugar – 23.0 / 10.5
      Fiesta – 20.2 / 8.5
      Peach – 18.3 / 7.2
      Cotton – 17.7 / 7.2
      Orange – 17.4 / 9.2

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Brian – I agree that $30M per school sounds high, but I would expect that the opening round games’ ratings would fall somewhere between the conference championship games and the non-NYD semi-finals, with the NYD quarterfinals drawing as well as the current NYD semifinals.

        The proposed semifinals may go down a bit, if the CFP can’t work something out with the NFL and play as a Saturday doubleheader. Pushing the CFP championship game back a few weeks may open up a Saturday late afternoon (NFL CCG or Pro Bowl weekend) slot with bigger ratings.

        Like

        1. @Alan from Baton Rouge @Brian @Mike – One thing that we need to price in is how much ESPN is willing to pay in order to amend and extend the CFP contract in order to prevent an expanded playoff from ever hitting the open market. My impression is that ESPN is much less worried about paying more money for an expanded CFP than it is about having to endure or losing a bidding war battle with Fox, Turner, Amazon, or other competitors in an open market a few years from now.

          To be sure, the P5 may need to holistically look at how the increased playoff revenue may decrease their bowl revenue (particularly with the contract bowls. Still, these projected numbers don’t surprise me – every time that people think that sports rights are in a bubble, the next contract completely obliterates our expectations. The proposed system is going from 3 playoff games up to 11 playoff games, so by simple inventory that seems quite in line with a tripling of revenue (particularly when you take into account inflation and overall sports rights fees increases from when the current CFP contract was signed).

          Like

          1. Brian

            Frank,

            You have a good point that ESPN may overpay to avoid facing competition. But the current P12 payout is based on the CFP + NY6 games (mostly the Rose Bowl), so it’s really 7 games going to 11, not 3 to 11. That’s why tripling seems too high to me. I can believe that just the CFP money would triple, but that would be at the expense of losing the Rose Bowl tie-in money.

            Like

          2. @Brian – Yes, I do think the P5 conferences need to look at it holistically since the increased CFP money may come at the expense of lower (or non-existent) non-playoff contract bowl money like the Rose Bowl.

            Granted, I think the access bowls are effectively throw-ins for the current CFP contract. ESPN isn’t getting much value out of them compared to the, say, the Citrus Bowl. Adding a whole new set of elimination playoff games is an entirely different story – those are the types of games that TV networks pay a super-premium for with respect to rights fees. That’s likely where the optimism is coming from – the value of those “win or go home” games is at a different tier.

            Like

          3. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Frank – I agree. Currently, the NY-6 (outside of the semifinals) aren’t much different than the Citrus, Outback or Alamo bowls. Slap “playoff” or “quarterfinal” after Peach Bowl and it means something.

            Speaking of the Citrus, Outback and Alamo, they are the biggest losers. The Citrus could have #13 Michigan against #14 Florida every year and nobody would care other than the family that wants to take a vacation around a bowl game.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Alan,

          I said 10 M viewers for those first round games – that seems in line with your idea.

          I don’t think the quarterfinals will match the semis, simply because of timing and how big of a deal each game is. There more time windows you have, the fewer people will watch any one game because they have other things to do. I think they’d be doing well to match NYD non-semi Rose Bowl numbers on average, so I guessed 15 M.

          As you get to fewer games, the viewership goes up. I think the semis and NCG will stay about where they are because I don’t think their missing many CFB fans. Everyone else is focused on the NFL.

          Like

  36. wscsuperfan

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/college-football-playoff-expansion-may-surprisingly-level-the-playing-field-enhance-the-regular-season/

    Main points from the article:

    1) In only three seasons of the current playoff format have the four playoff teams all been conference champions. That means we have a good chance of teams outside the top four receiving byes in any given season. It will not be surprising to have a 4-5 game in which the No. 5 seed is ranked higher than the No. 4 seed.

    2) Some of the biggest CFP selection debates would be mostly resolved.

    3) You may be surprised to learn that the conference with the most teams appearing in a 12-team model over the first seven years of the CFP would not be the SEC, but the Big Ten.

    The Big Ten would have placed 20 teams in the 12-team playoff with the SEC falling one short at 19 teams over the past seven years. The Big Ten is also the only conference that would have put at least two teams in the playoff in each season and has the only team that would have appeared in all seven of them. Ohio State would have received a bye in four of the seven playoffs and been seeded no lower than seventh in the other three. Clemson and Oklahoma would be riding six-year appearance streaks with each missing the first CFP in 2014. Alabama would also have six appearances, missing in 2019. No other team would have had more than four appearances.

    C-USA is the only conference that would have not yet made an appearance. It’s also the only one not to have a team finish the season in the final CFP rankings.

    Like

    1. Brian

      1. Is it supposed to be a good thing that lower ranked teams get byes?

      2. This system changes the controversies, but they don’t go away. 4 vs 5 for a bye and potential bowl site advantage is big. 8 vs 9 for home field advantage in December is big. 12 vs 13 will be highly debatable, especially with a committee making the choices. And there will be more belief that the committee is manipulating the rankings to get desired outcomes (1 champ above another, avoiding rematches, causing specific rematches, …).

      3. I’m not sure having 4 teams take 25 of a possible 28 spots is an improvement over now. More teams would get in, but I’m guessing you add several more regulars to the mix (the more they make the CFP, the more their recruiting improves and they keep making the CFP). It’ll just look like the NY6 has – the same teams rotating through most of the slots with a few new faces here and there.

      Like

  37. Brian

    Pete Thamel hypothesizes that conferences may look to get rid of divisions with the expanded CFP. Too much risk of a crappy division winner knocking out your best team, plus an upset could boost a top 15-20 team into the top 12.

    https://spoz851.wixsite.com/powerdigits/post/what-do-we-see-in-the-12-team-cfp-retrospectively

    This site has good graphics of who would’ve made the CFP since 2014, with breakdowns into byes, home games and road games as well as conference totals.

    We all know the top 4 (29.8% of all spots):
    OSU – 7
    AL, Clemson, OU – 6

    But here are the new regulars (31.0% of all spots):
    UGA, PSU – 4
    UF, FSU, ND, WI, UO, UW – 3

    7 schools would’ve gone twice, and 19 more just once (38 total teams for 84 spots).

    So this expansion is really good for the other “kings” and the current “princes” of CFB, plus for 1 year wonders. But in the end, the domination by a small number of schools continues.

    That’s 60.7% of all spots taken by 12 teams and 77.3% taken by 19 teams, compared to the old CFP’s 71.4% taken by 4 teams. And 75% of the byes would’ve gone to the same 4 schools that dominated the CFP.

    I predict people will continue to be sick of seeing the same 4 teams get all the byes, plus another handful taking up so many spots. And seeing the B10 host 9 games would drive some complaints as well.

    Like

    1. FrankTheAg

      I really think it is time to let the bowl games die a peaceful death. They have lost all real meaning at this point. I know this is a Rose Bowl leaning crowd but I think we all know it is time.

      Like

      1. Brian

        1. Old bowl system > any CFB playoff
        2. The major bowls have lost value, but the lesser bowls are still valuable for the teams that struggle to reach 6-6 consistently.

        Like

        1. FrankTheAg

          1. The old bowl system (I’m assuming you mean prior to the BCS or CFB) isn’t coming back so, while I agree with you somewhat due to nostalgia reason, the fact that we believe it is better than a playoff is not relevant.

          2. The current bowl system is broken completely. Fan apathy is at an all time high due to these issues (likely that I’m missing some):

          Attendance
          TV ratings
          Player Opt-Outs
          Changing conference affiliations
          Confusing yearly Bowl name changes

          3. The lower tier bowls are valuable to some degree to the colleges that participate as long as you accept the above issues will continue to worsen.

          4. The major bowl games are the only ones impacted by the 12 team playoff. We both agree they have lost value…and I conclude it’s time to end the relationship as it isn’t going to get better.

          5. Keep the lesser bowls if that’s what the P5 and G5 teams want since it has not impact on the 12 team playoff.

          Like

          1. Brian

            FrankTheAg,

            Yes, the old bowl system is the pre-BCS era. When you could spend the off-season (and maybe decades more) arguing who was the best team that season. The BCS and CFP haven’t really ended those discussions, but they pretend that they do.

            No, the old bowl system isn’t coming back. But it will always be the best system in CFB. If you want to move forward, the final answer is that the NCAA should be running the playoff as it does in all other sports and other levels of CFB. It should be 24 teams with autobids for all conference champs, all games but the semis and NCG played on campus. They should eliminate CCGs and/or reduce the regular season to make room but they’ve sold out the sport for money so they won’t.

            What does being broken mean for the current bowl system? It’s only goal is to host some exhibition games and make some money for the host cities. It does that. ESPN is happy to keep profiting from it, so where is the brokenness?

            Money and the CFP have ruined CFB, so of course fans and players care less about every non-CFP game. Soon the sport will exist solely for gambling and NFL prospect training.

            4. The major bowl games are the only ones impacted by the 12 team playoff. We both agree they have lost value…and I conclude it’s time to end the relationship as it isn’t going to get better.

            The major bowls still offer more value than any replacement for them could. As long as that’s true, they aren’t going away.

            Like

          2. FrankTheAg

            @Brian,

            I actually do think the major bowls make the system worse since that is the primary driver for having the quarterfinal rounds off campus, forcing the quarterfinals to be located at neutral sites vs. on campus. That will worsen the environment immensely and force fans to travel way more than necessary. I simply find it hard to believe that asking fans to travel to quarter, semi and final round games is feasible. Plus, I for one would love to see cold weather games in Big10 country.

            I think the answer is keep 10 or so lesser bowl games for non-playoff programs and kill the rest. Play the quarterfinal games on campus and play the semi and final rounds in neutral sites just as it is done now. I predict this will be the outcome if not in 2023, then by 2025.

            Like

          3. Brian

            FrankTheAg,

            I actually do think the major bowls make the system worse since that is the primary driver for having the quarterfinal rounds off campus, forcing the quarterfinals to be located at neutral sites vs. on campus.

            1. Anything that makes the CFP worse is a net good for CFB, so I fully support it.
            2. I’m not sure that’s true. It is one driver for playing those games off campus, but so is winter weather. You are also contending with the strong feelings of the B10 and its fans (and probably some other northern schools). The big reward for winning the B10 was the week-long trip to Pasadena, not a home game in snow/sleet/wind.

            That will worsen the environment immensely

            The major bowls always used to have great environments, so I don’t buy that. It’s the CFP that ruined the environments by adding a game (soon to be 3 games) after the major bowls and undermining the traditional tie-ins.

            and force fans to travel way more than necessary.

            1. The CCGs started that.
            2. Fans traveled a long way to bowl games for decades. The problem is all the other games they’re asked to travel to. The major bowls occur when people are on vacation and many are looking to get away from home.
            3. Most post-season games depend on local fans and the rich who can travel all they want. The schools only get a small portion of the tickets.

            I simply find it hard to believe that asking fans to travel to quarter, semi and final round games is feasible.

            It doesn’t have to be the same fans for each round. Local fans are the key ticket buyers for any post-season game. Plus all of this is designed for TV money, not fans. They could play in empty stadiums and still make more money this way.

            Plus, I for one would love to see cold weather games in Big10 country.

            Some people say that, fewer people will still say that when it happens to their team and they lose in a blizzard. And plenty of northern people aren’t saying that. Some northern schools have stated concerns about winterizing stadiums (pipes bursting) and player safety (frozen fields = concussions), plus public safety with all that traffic in bad weather.

            I think the answer is keep 10 or so lesser bowl games for non-playoff programs and kill the rest.

            There are roughly 40 bowls now, enough that all 6-6 teams can go to the post-season. That isn’t going to change as long as ESPN can profit from bowls.

            Play the quarterfinal games on campus and play the semi and final rounds in neutral sites just as it is done now. I predict this will be the outcome if not in 2023, then by 2025.

            The major bowls are part of the CFP contracts, so they would have to approve any change prior to the end of the current deal. After that you still have to get all the conferences to agree, and I don’t see the upside for the B10.

            Like

  38. bob sykes

    The CFB playoff in any form only benefits a very small number of schools, about 6 now and maybe 15 in the proposed system. Other schools are injured both financially and in terms of visibility. I, an admitted silver back geezer, greater prefer the pre-CFB playoff opinion system, just because of its ambiguity and potential for argumentation. In 1970, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Texas were all proclaimed National Champion by one organization or another. And each of them lists that championship on the wall of its stadium. Now could anything be better than that? No, a rhetorical question with an obvious answer.

    As to the death of the Rose Bowl!! Say it ain’t so, Frank.

    Like

    1. @bob sykes – One thing that I’d say is that the benefit of the proposed CFP is going to be much broader. Don’t think of it as the 12 schools that actually make the playoff. Instead, think of the many more schools that will be in the playoff *race* throughout the course of the regular season.

      I remember someone talking about NFL playoff expansion last year and they summed it up perfectly: “The 3 words that make the NFL the most money: IN THE HUNT.” As in, the more teams that are in the playoff hunt, the more valuable each regular season game becomes, and the more invested more fans are throughout the entire regular season.

      As an Illinois fan, the thought of the Illini making a top 4 playoff was about as likely as flying my own rocket ship to Mars. It just wasn’t even conceivable and an entire swath of college football (whether P5 or G5) felt the same way. That’s quite different compared to how I feel about my favorite teams in any other sport where even with the most inept teams I at least enter into each season thinking, “If X, Y and Z happen, then just *maybe* we’ll make the playoffs!”

      A 12-team playoff is an entirely different scenario, though. It might not be likely that Illinois will make that playoff in a given year, but that is no longer in a “This will never ever happen in my lifetime” category to a more normal sports fan dream. I mean, freaking INDIANA would have made a 12-team playoff last year!

      Essentially, if you’re a ranked team, you at least have a *shot* at the playoff… and being ranked is a whole lot larger group of teams (and covers even more teams that are on the cusp of moving in and out of those rankings) that will suddenly have a lot more incentive and national interest in their games.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Frank,

        I hear that same line every time in multiple sports and I still don’t buy it. People always claim they’ll be more interested if some playoff expands, but fan behavior doesn’t really show it.

        Does having a shot at a bowl game keep fans excited? Not usually. And that’s a hell of a lot more teams than the playoff. And most realistic fans give up on winning their conference long before they are mathematically eliminated. Do you see Vandy fans claiming they might win the SEC in September? Did having a chance to win the B10 and go to the Rose Bowl pack the stands in September and October at NW, WI and IU in the 70s and 80s? No, they were shitty and their fans knew it. Winning is what excites fans.

        All the other sports leagues have much more parity, so it’s apples and oranges. And even then, plenty of NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL/MBB fans know their team will suck in the upcoming year.

        NFL interest is driven by fantasy sports and gambling more than by fans. They have monopoly broadcasting deals forcing you to watch local games if you want to watch any games and all the pros are much smaller leagues (32 teams or less). In CFB there are always multiple other games to watch and ratings follow brands not records.

        Like

  39. ccrider55

    Let’s go all the way. Who’s going to start the NIT for non CFB invitees, and a sub tournament for those missing out on that. Free market, baby. As long as we seem to be headed to paying players we need a broader return on investment.

    (Sarcasm)

    Like

    1. Brian

      ccrider55,

      Unfortunately, that’s where we’re headed. I’d say the bowl system is the NIT of CFB. It used to be the preferred postseason, but now some other tournament has become dominant and pushed the bowls into irrelevance. The problem is when the bowls become the CBI.

      Like

  40. Jersey Bernie

    It appears that the fight is on between the PAC12 and the G5. PAC12 commissioner Larry Scott wants a guaranteed spot for all 5 P5 leagues in the new 12 team playoff. American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco was not happy. Aresco claims that the proposed system will take the six highest ranked conference champions and six more teams.

    Obviously Aresco is afraid of one of the G5 league champions getting overlooked for an inferior PAC team.

    Personally I agree with Aresco. If the P5 cannot get one team in the top 12, then they should look inwards and fix it.

    https://247sports.com/Article/College-football-playoff-American-Athletic-commissioner-Mike-Aresco-blasts-Pac-12-commissioner-Larry-Scott-166747166/

    Like

    1. Brian

      Jersey Bernie,

      Last year the P12 champ would’ve been left out I believe. The 2011 B10 champ would’ve been left out. It should be rare, but the P12 has suffered more than anyone else in missing the CFP. Why would they trust the committee to rank their champ fairly?

      If a G5 champ goes 13-0 with a cupcake schedule while the P12 champ is 10-3 with 1 or 2 tough OOC games, who gets ranked higher (esp. if the P12 champ mostly plays late games)?

      If the SEC and P12 champs have the same record but the P12 champ played 9 P12 games while the SEC champ had the usual November cupcake before their rivalry game, who gets ranked higher?

      The P12 has seen how this worked out for them in the past, so they should distrust the committee and prefer an objective path to inclusion.

      The G5 is right to want anything that hurts the P5, so they don’t want official autobids. Saying 6 champs get in gives the G5 a de facto autobid. The non-AAC G5 conferences should be upset, though. Aresco views this new system as a way to “prove” the AAC is a 6th power conference because they will dominate the slots G5 champs get.

      Like

      1. Brian

        I’d love to see the NCAA refuse to administer intercollegiate sports anymore and just dissolve. Then have the schools drop intercollegiate sports entirely because they are such a hassle to operate without an NCAA-equivalent body. Let the NFL and NBA run minor leagues if they want. Everyone else can play intramural and club sports.

        It’ll never happen, but it’s what current players deserve.

        Like

    1. Marc

      The NCAA has a long history of fighting all the way—and losing. Remember, they opposed allowing schools and leagues to have their own TV contracts. It’s kind of fun to go back and read their “sky is falling” arguments in those old cases.

      As I recall, the NCAA has a huuuuge litigation fund that they use to defend cases like these. I wonder if the members who paid for this got their money’s worth.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Marc,

        I don’t think anyone disputes that the NCAA was legally wrong. But as usual, lawyers ruin everything.

        CFB was better before the NCAA started losing in court. That led directly to expansion, then CCGs, and now this ridiculous playoff. CFB is becoming just NFL-lite. Over time they will lose a lot of alumni support (and donations) and it will become all about the gamblers. Here’s hoping the schools cut CFB adrift sooner rather than later. I’d rather have no CFB than what CFB is morphing into.

        Like

  41. bob sykes

    This decision will apply to all varsity sports. The reference to “fair market value” might allow differential payments, even within a single sport. This is the biggest decision since the relegation of TV rights to colleges sometime ago.

    The down side is that it might lead to the eliminate of many sports that do not produce much revenue.

    Like

    1. Brian

      I don’t see them dropping back to 8 games unless everyone else does, too. The P12 struggles with attendance, so they need quality opponents to sell tickets. The B10 has gotten plenty of CFP slots with a 9-game conference schedule. What they need is for USC or UO (or someone else) to become elite again.

      Maybe they drop divisions to optimize their playoff chances.

      Like

    2. Marc

      As I recall, there is an NCAA rule (waived for 2020 only) that you’ve got to have divisions in order to stage a CCG, with an exception that allows the B12 — and only the B12 (among power conferences) — to not have divisions because they stage a round robin with only 10 members.

      As I further recall, wasn’t the Pac-12 one of the parties that blocked a rule change that would have allowed any conference to do away with divisions, and still have a CCG? I suspected at the time that that would be cast aside as soon as it was convenient to do so.

      But maybe that rule was already repealed and I just missed it…I stand to be corrected if that is the case.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Marc,

        You recall the rules correctly.

        https://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/council-approves-methods-more-fbs-conferences-hold-football-championships

        Under current rules, FBS conferences must have at least 12 members, and championship games must be between the winners of two divisions within the conference. Each division must play a round-robin schedule during the regular season in order to hold a championship game.

        Council members adopted a proposal that originated with the Division I Football Oversight Committee but also approved an amendment from the Big Ten Conference. The amendment, offered by the Big Ten late last week, allows conferences with fewer than 12 members to hold championship games in football, as long as they meet one of two additional conditions: Conferences that want to play championship games must either play their championship game between division winners after round-robin competition in each division or between the top two teams in the conference standings following full round-robin, regular-season competition between all members of the conference.

        I believe the ACC proposed the idea that a conference of any size could drop divisions but keep their CCG a few years ago. The B10 was against it, and likely the P12 was too.

        Like

  42. Marc

    College sports, especially football, have very strong conservative tendencies. A lot of fans prefer whatever system they first knew.

    Here is a fun fact. Between 1968 and 1974, the final AP poll was after the bowls, but the final coaches’ poll was after the regular season. The fact it took 6 years for them to agree, suggests it was debatable whether the bowls should count. Never mind that it took the AP till 1968 to decide that. Over the decades, on multiple occasions, the final regular-season #1 lost its bowl game, but was still considered the national champion.

    Today, nobody is suggesting the bowls should be disregarded in the final polls. Is that because we are so much smarter than they were in the late 1960s? I don’t think so. It is merely that most of us have spent all of our adult lives in an era when the bowls have always counted. We have not known another way.

    Eventually, there will be a day when all of the adult sports fans never knew a time without a playoff. I suspect that, to them, the idea of declaring a champ without an actual championship game will seem as strange as the idea of disregarding the bowls — even though the latter idea had incredible persistence in its day.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Life was different in the early days of bowls. Travel was hard and long (train from OH to CA). The bowls really were a separate entity from the season. And coaches and players truly treated the bowls as exhibitions. Winning the conference was the big deal, the bowl was a reward. This is especially a B10 thing because only the B10 champ could go to a bowl until the mid-70s. And it was even more true for OSU and UM (the B10 champs in most years back then), as The Game was everything.

      But as the number of bowls increased, and the season extended, and then CCGs got added, things have changed. Teams fly everywhere and have fewer days off between the last game and a bowl. The time between the last game of the season and the bowl was >6 weeks. OSU had a 50 day layoff before the 2006-7 NCG. That really is a separate season.

      Also, the post-season awards are given in December so it still makes some sense to draw a line.

      And finally, several conferences host “home” bowls while others (B10, B8) had to travel every time. So why count that as a level playing field?

      So sure, give the NC after the regular season. That’s as fair as anything else. At least the criteria to make the major bowls started as objective back in the day (autobid for winning your conference).

      Now get off my lawn.

      Like

  43. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31711201/nc-state-college-world-series-due-covid-19-issues-vanderbilt-finals

    NCSU is out of the College World Series due to COVID. Several players refused to get vaccinated and they infected others on the team. NCSU were down to 9 position players and 4 pitchers on Friday, and several of those tested positive yesterday (including some who were vaccinated).

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31709803/nc-state-elliott-avent-declines-talk-vaccine-politics-amid-team-covid-issues-cws

    Shortly after playing with half of a roster Friday because of COVID-19 protocols, North Carolina State coach Elliott Avent declined to say whether he has encouraged his players to be vaccinated and wouldn’t say whether he has been.

    “If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball,” Avent said. “If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine, Rob Murphy.”

    According to the NCAA, Tier 1 individuals — which includes players, coaches and other travel team parties and officials — must undergo testing if they are not fully vaccinated.

    “I’ve been coaching for a long time,” Avent said. “And I think I’m the — you can call it caretaker, babysitter or the guy that the parents drop their young men off and leave them in my care. And they’ve raised them to be the quality people that we recruit. And my job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education and keep them on the right track forward.

    “But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or … my opinions. Obviously we talk about a lot of things. But these are young men that can make their own decisions, and that’s what they did.”

    Like

    1. Jersey Bernie

      I am just wondering how you know that four players who were not vacinnated were the cause of the COVID problems at NC State. Is that in one of the articles, because, if so, I missed it.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Bernie,

        That was in another article:
        https://d1baseball.com/college-world-series/nc-state-is-out-vanderbilt-advances-to-cws-finals-via-no-contest/

        According to multiple sources, two unvaccinated NC State players tested positive for COVID-19 this week, prompting the NCAA to test the entire roster, including vaccinated players. Four positive tests came back from that round of testing, prompting the no-contest ruling. All four of the latest positive tests came from vaccinated individuals who were in the dugout for Friday’s game against Vanderbilt, per multiple sources.

        Like

        1. That doesn’t mean the unvaxxed players were the ones to spread it though. They could have been, but since it is only the unvaxxed being tested and everyone was without symptoms, it could have just as easy been other way around (while being vaxed likely reduces transmission in general, it also means you can have a higher viral load without symptoms making it easer to transmit if you do since you aren’t noticeably sick). It likely would have never been found if not for the unvaxxed on the team though (since they weren’t testing the vaxed and no one had symptoms). If they follow it far enough they could probably figure it out, but my guess is no one does.

          Like

          1. Mike


            They could have been, but since it is only the unvaxxed being tested and everyone was without symptoms

            @Eric – You should read the timeline I posted below. Before any positive tests were announced:


            In the postgame press conference, NC State coach Elliott Avent pointed out a few members of the traveling party, including a player, had caught a ‘bug’ and were needing some rest the next few days. He pointed out that ‘other’ players were dealing with this bug, too.

            Like

  44. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31737039/ncaa-clears-student-athletes-pursue-name-image-likeness-deals

    The NCAA approved some temporary NIL rules.

    NCAA rules that prevent schools from paying players directly remain intact. The board directed schools to make sure that payments to athletes are not expressly for their athletic achievements and to ensure that no payments are used as recruiting inducements.

    The new rules will allow athletes to profit by monetizing social media accounts, signing autographs, teaching camps or lessons, starting their own businesses, and participating in advertising campaigns, among many other potential ventures. Athletes will be allowed to sign with agents or other representatives to help them acquire endorsement deals.

    Some opportunities will be restricted, but the types of restrictions will vary based on state laws and policies created by individual schools. For example, some but not all state laws prohibit athletes from endorsing alcohol, tobacco or gambling products. Some but not all laws prohibit athletes from using their school’s logos or other copyright material in endorsements.

    According to Wednesday’s rule change, schools in states that have an NIL law on the books are instructed to follow state law while determining what their athletes can do. The NCAA instructed schools located in states without an active NIL law to create and publish their own policies to provide clarity to the gray area and come up with a plan to resolve any disputes that arise.

    The board of directors said Wednesday that its rule changes are intended to be temporary to make sure all athletes have some opportunity to profit from NIL as state laws start to go into effect. The board is hoping that Congress will help create a uniform national law that allows for clearer regulations for future college athlete NIL deals.

    This is a disaster waiting to happen. There need to be national rules and only Congress can create those (any NCAA rules will just get them sued – and they’ll lose again).

    Like

    1. frug

      The board directed schools to make sure that payments to athletes are not expressly for their athletic achievements

      I wonder how this applies to prize money for athletes who compete in events outside the NCAA system?

      Regan Smith had leave something like $70,000 in prize winnings and world record bonuses on the table after the 2019 Swimming World Championships to preserve her NCAA eligibility.

      Like

      1. frug

        Actually, I just went back and checked and she would have been due over $80,000 for her 2 individual WRs and 200 back Gold Medal. She also would have been several thousand more for her part in the gold medal and WR setting 4×100 Medley Relay (I’m not sure how USA Swimming divides relay winnings and bonuses.)

        Like

      2. Brian

        I don’t know, but I’m guessing pre-established prize money for competitions outside of NCAA purview will be fine as long as the athletes do not wear school gear. What they don’t want is paying the athlete for competition (no salary or hourly rate or appearance fee to compete).

        Many track and swimming athletes wear school logos outside of NCAA competition – that might not be allowed if they want to win money.

        Like

  45. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31771563/dan-lambert-plans-500-month-endorsement-deal-every-miami-hurricanes-football-player-scholarship

    And the NIL crap starts. A Miami fan is giving every scholarship player $500/month this year ($540,000).

    Lambert has also started a corporation, called Bring Back The U, that will be solely focused on putting money in the pockets of Miami football players. He said the company will attempt to rally support from local businesses to hire the players as spokesmen. He also plans to host fundraising events and spend and then donate the proceeds to any local business that agrees to use the donation to pay for Miami players as spokesmen.

    Heitner helped craft Florida’s new name, image and likeness law and has consulted with several athletes and businesses looking to use college athlete endorsers. He told ESPN that Lambert’s fanhood and previous donations that he’s made to the athletic department do not prevent him from making a company that facilitates endorsement deals for Hurricane players.

    Heitner said Florida’s law only prohibits an entity that has directly supported the university or the athletic department from paying or facilitating these deals. Lambert’s new corporation has no relationship with the university.

    “There’s no prohibition on an entity who may have a booster as a member,” Heitner said. “The only restriction is if the entity itself supports the institution or the athletic department.”

    “I’m not looking to profit from this,” Lambert said. “I want to try to bring people together and make our team better. I’ve got too many Gator and Seminole friends that have been s—-ing on me for the last 20 years. I want to reverse it.”

    Like

    1. Jersey Bernie

      No surprise. Letting the bidding war begin. At least the guys will no public profile will get a few dollars.

      I expect that all starters will be getting at least $10,000 per month at Miami soon. And players ranked in the top 100 or so in high school will be getting big money.

      Can Clemson and FSU keep up with Miami financially? How about U of Florida?

      Lambert will get his revenge.

      Like

    2. ccrider55

      From Wilner: “Six days into the era of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) — and six days later than we expected — there’s confirmation of a Pac-12 star cashing in.
      Not surprisingly, it’s Kayvon Thibodeaux: The Oregon defensive end, a projected top-five pick in the NFL Draft, is using Phil Knight to help launch his business career.
      It’s not a Nike-directed project. The apparel and shoe companies are limited in their ability to partner with athletes on NIL endeavors because of contracts with the universities and rules against NIL being used for recruiting inducements.
      Instead, Knight is helping Thibodeaux create an NFT business.
      For those unfamiliar, NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Generally speaking, it’s a digital asset that can be bought and sold. In Thibodeaux’s case, it’s a piece of art that he’s selling online for $107. And because NFTs can have an unlimited number of owners, he stands to make a nice profit.
      In addition, the All-American reportedly has signed a six-figure memorabilia deal for the 2021 season. Details are sketchy, and we’ll refrain from any conclusions and analysis until more information emerges.“

      Gee, no way this could ever morph into a recruiting tool…🙄

      Like

      1. Brian

        https://www.si.com/college/2021/07/02/hercy-miller-master-p-son-signs-2m-deal-nil-law-change

        Master P’s son signed a 4-yr $2,000,000 endorsement deal with tech company Web Apps America. He is about to start playing MBB at Tennessee State.

        Before choosing Tennessee State, an HBCU in Nashville, Miller received offers from other schools like USC, UCLA, Howard, LSU and Missouri.

        Based on his offer list, he’s a good player but not elite. And he’s worth $500k per year before he ever plays a game? What is this company’s advertising budget?

        Like

  46. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Frank – Chicago native and the first African American university president in the SEC, William Tate began work in Baton Rouge at LSU yesterday.

    Like

  47. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31783893/north-carolina-players-not-favor-12-team-college-football-playoff-says-coach-mack-brown

    UNC’s players are against expanding the CFP top 12 teams.

    North Carolina linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel told ESPN that nobody on the team raised their hand in favor of a 12-team playoff. He said a few players preferred to stay at four, while the majority was split between six and eight teams.

    “I feel like 12 teams is too many games in a season for players who want to play long-term football,” Gemmel said in a phone interview. “Sixteen, 17 games in a season is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially for guys who don’t come out when they’re playing.”

    Players also felt strongly that conference champions should get an automatic spot, in addition to the top Group of 5 champion. Under the proposed 12-team format, there would be no automatic bids. In addition, Brown said some players wondered whether there were 12 teams good enough to win the national championship.

    “Because they wanted the playoffs to be about who is good enough to win all the games or win the national championship, not just have a bunch of teams involved,” Brown said.

    Like

  48. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/31824357/ncaa-president-mark-emmert-says-right-consider-decentralized-deregulated-college-sports

    Mark Emmert says it is time to consider decentralizing college sports. Eliminate the NCAA and regulate at the conference or school level.

    NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday the time is right to consider a decentralized and deregulated version of college sports, shifting power to conferences and campuses and reconsidering how schools are aligned.

    In a 30-minute interview with a small group of reporters, Emmert stressed he was not putting forth a mandate or even a recommendation. But he laid out a vision for the future of college sports that puts fewer limitations on athletes and deemphasizes the role of a national governing body like the NCAA, which was founded 115 years ago and oversees more than 450,000 athletes.

    Emmert said the NCAA’s more than 1,100 member schools should consider a less homogenous approach to the way sports are governed and rethink the current three-division structure, which includes 355 Division I colleges. The NCAA’s rules and regulations have long been criticized and court challenges have been mounting in recent years.

    “We need to be ready to say, ‘Yeah, you know, for field hockey, field hockey is different than football. Wrestling is different than lacrosse,’ and not get so hung up on having everything be the same,” said Emmert, who was president of the University of Washington before taking the NCAA job in 2010.

    Would it be legal for one conference to be more restrictive on how players can make money if there are other major conferences out there (unlike the NCAA restricting it)? Or is it still an anti-trust issue because several schools are colluding?

    Like

      1. Jersey Bernie

        It sure sounds like Emmert is almost inviting the P-5 to break away.

        Would they go alone or take the G-5?

        Brian, thanks for the link. I did not see this before.

        Like

      2. Brian

        Or maybe the SEC, ACC and B12 will break away from the B10 and P12. Or maybe the conferences might splinter because Alabama and Vanderbilt (OSU and NW, etc.) have different views of what the future should be. If big money to the players comes in at the school level, do the smaller schools want out of that level of competition?

        At some level you need a governing body setting rules. I doubt conferences would be any better at it than the NCAA. I think the schools should drop their revenue sports and just have club teams. If they drop CFB, they can drop a lot of women’s teams and still be truly Title IX compliant.

        Like

  49. ccrider55

    Trev Alberts AD at Nebraska?

    Now I see how they lost AAU status.
    Send them back to little 12, trade for Kansas…or whoever .

    Like

    1. Jersey Bernie

      What is wrong with Trev Alberts? I never heard of him before and a search of his name did not add much to see the issues. There is an article in the Omaha paper with the headline that this could be a first step to improve relationships with the B1G. It was behind a pay wall, so I did not read it.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Star LB at Nebraska in the 90s, then had a cup of coffee in the NFL. He became a talking head at ESPN who was notoriously anti-Ohio State. He eventually got fired for his antics at ESPN. He became the AD at Nebraska-Omaha (were D-II), where he dropped football and wrestling (a wrestling program that had just won its 6th national title in 8 years, and he told the coach on voicemail about 1 hour after winning the title) on the pretense of financial needs on the way to moving up to D-I. Outside the Lines called BS on UNO’s numbers they used to justify the move.

        A lot of the negative feelings from Nebraska fans is from this being another reach back to the glory days. Wrestling fans nationwide despise him. Many people at ESPN despised him. Many of the coaches at UNO despised him. OSU fans despise him. I don’t see how this could improve relations with the B10. Maybe their premise is that he will “fix” the football team and that will make the B10 happier.

        Oh, I found this free link: https://nebraska.rivals.com/news/five-takes-on-nebraska-s-hire-of-trev-alberts-as-athletic-director

        Strengthen Big Ten relationships

        Another clear message at Wednesday’s press conference was the Big Ten. Green went out of his way to make sure he expressed their overall commitment level to the conference.

        2020 brought lots of questions about NU’s long-term commitment to the league after Nebraska was openly criticized for wanting to play football in the heat of COVID-19.

        As Alberts said, this is all about winning. If Nebraska can start winning in the Big Ten, fans will grow to love the league.

        So it’s about Nebraska being committed to the B10 (nothing to do with Alberts) and fixing the football team.

        Like

        1. Jersey Bernie

          Thanks, Brian.

          Well it seems that the Nebraska Rivals site is all in on supporting Alberts, which makes sense since all of the Rivals sites (which I have ever seen) are super rah rah sites. I get it.

          Cancelling a national championship wrestling program to be a low level D-1 program seems really odd. One would think that the school would try to leverage their enormously successful program, rather than cancel it. to move up to D-1.

          I must admit that I felt that Nebraska football was correct in wanting to play last season. I believe that NE and tOSU are the reasons that the football season started, which meant a huge amount of money to every team in the league.

          As far as NE fans being unhappy with the B1G, that sounds a lot like being poor losers. I am sure that the school is very happy with the money, plus whatever academic prestige NE has gained.

          Personally, I do not see how NE football can ever regain its full glory. The state of Nebraska produces no football talent, so they need to get back to getting top national recruits. Will that happen? The best that NE can hope for is a team close to the top 20 in recruiting, which will be behind OSU, PSU, Michigan and probably others.

          Teams like Michigan State for years did not get recruits but used coaching to have great teams. Wisconsin is also pretty good at consistently playing above the level of their recruiting rankings. Has NE done that yet? No.

          Rivals just did a listing of the top five B1G players at each position. It is interesting how many of the top 5 players at each spot were not highly rated. Lots of three stars and a few two stars.

          Here is a link to those listings through the Rutgers Rivals site. https://rutgers.rivals.com/news/ranking-the-big-ten-cornerback-11

          Like

          1. Brian

            NE’s old glory came from development, reputation keeping schools like IA/WI/MN from taking local players, plus a lot of academically (and legally) borderline players. The move to the B10 has made it harder for them, and so has the proliferation of TV coverage so their brand doesn’t carry as much weight. I agree they need a more developmental approach (WI, MSU, IA) to restore the program. Once they do that, their brand may let them add more elite recruiting. Even Osborne did a lot of player development (perhaps via PEDs) back in his time.

            NIL may let them afford to buy better players, too, as they have plenty of fans who will cough up money to help the Huskers.

            Like

        2. wscsuperfan

          Despite what Outside the Lines reported, UNO’s athletics were a horrible mess financially. Just a few years prior to hiring Trev the school’s chancellor was ousted due to financial mismanagement. The elimination of football and wrestling was not solely Alberts’ decision, that came from higher up in the chain, Trev just was the guy to have to do the dirty work and be the face of it. Could it have been handled better? Absolutely, especially in terms of wrestling…..though there were reports that the local paper was going to blow the whole story open and Alberts rushed to announce the decision to beat the news cycle.

          Regardless, UNO athletics is in a much better place now than what Trev inherited. Will that translate over to his new job at UNL……time will tell. But what the school needs now more than anything is some darn stability. In ten years of B1G membership, Nebraska has had three different football coaches and four different athletic directors….hard to be successful with that much turnover.

          Like

          1. Brian

            OTL didn’t dispute that UNO’s AD was in bad shape financially, they disputed UNO’s analysis of how they would do moving up to D-I. That said, Alberts may have been a good AD after this mess. And maybe higher powers forced the cuts on him.

            But how he handled it and what he did is why ccrider55 is so anti-Alberts (I think).

            https://www.espn.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=6488960

            UNO athletic director Trev Alberts said the university couldn’t afford to keep football and wrestling in its move up from Division II to join the Division I Summit League, which doesn’t sponsor the two sports. But an analysis of various financial statements and studies by “Outside the Lines” and economist Andy Schwarz shows discrepancies in UNO’s numbers and raises questions about predictions that the university will fare better financially in Division I without the two programs.

            Like

  50. Brian

    https://www.si.com/college/oklahoma/football/advertisements-on-uniforms-could-happen-in-college-football-this-fall

    Could football players now sell ads on their jerseys? The B12 head of officials says maybe.

    Greg Burks, the Big 12 Coordinator of Officials, said Thursday that there is now a gray area in the NCAA rules that could allow for a player to place an endorsement on their uniform.

    “The NCAA has now OK’d a 16-square-inch patch, four inches by four inches, for any sentiment that you want to hold on to,” Burks said after his rules presentation at Big 12 Media Days. “So unity, whatever it may be, and the individual player can wear that. Not everyone has to wear that.

    “So when you ask me about NIL, if (a player) wants to put (a sponsor), does he have that right? Who screens whether or not that’s valid? I don’t have those answers.”

    For now, Burks said that determination could be at the discretion of the on-field referee, who may have to radio in to Burks himself at the Big 12 replay center. Calls may even go higher up the chain on a game day, Burks said, to the Big 12 Commissioner’s office, illustrating just how broad all of the NIL rules are at this point.

    Like

    1. Jersey Bernie

      West Virginia AD Oliver Luck is quoted as saying, “It was a game we likened to musical chairs. You don’t want to be the one standing when the music stops.”

      Connecticut was the one standing. While being in the Big East for basketball was some sort of consolation prize, the football program has been destroyed.

      Like

  51. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31849847/clemson-tigers-dabo-swinney-not-favor-inevitable-12-team-college-football-playoff

    Clemson is the second ACC team to disagree with expanding the CFP to 12 teams. Maybe we should listen to the players on this?

    “I knew when it went to four, it was going to become all about the playoff, and when it goes to 12, it’s going to become more about the playoff, but it’s inevitable,” Swinney said. “Some people will say, ‘Well you’ve been in the playoff. If we can get in with four, we’re going to get in with 12.’ Our odds aren’t going to go down, so it’s not about that.

    Our team isn’t for it. They don’t want to play more games. And to be honest with you, I don’t know if there’s 12 teams good enough. So you’re going to play more games just to play more games. And I think the more you expand it, the less important the season becomes and the more you become the NFL, as far as all right, you’re in the playoffs? Well, you know, why play Trevor [Lawrence] in this game if you’re already in? All of a sudden you’re not in the top 12 and kids just aren’t playing.”

    Like

  52. Jersey Bernie

    Alabama quarterback Bryce Young who has not yet started, seems to have close to one million dollars in NIL agreements already in place, according to Nick Saban. Another not terribly surprising situation. Some of these kids will make more than NFL rookies.

    Which other teams will be able to match these types of numbers? Interesting.

    https://247sports.com/LongFormArticle/Nick-Saban-Bryce-Young-NIL-7-figure-deal-QA-Drew-Brees-retirement-defensive-changes-168011837/#168011837_2

    Like

      1. Mike

        If I’m the Big Ten/PAC 12, I at least give Oklahoma and Texas a call. If they think they can move with out their little brothers, find out if a deal can be made.

        If this does happen, I assume the Big Ten will look hard at Kansas. After that, what? The rest of the Big 12 remnants and UConn don’t move the needle. Virginia is locked up until the 2030s. Unbalanced Divisions? Three pods of 5?

        Like

        1. frug

          If I’m the Big Ten I’d go all in on getting UT and OU. I know OU isn’t AAU, but with the ACC seemingly locked up for another decade plus, this could be the last chance to make an impact move for a generation.

          Like

          1. Mike

            @Frug – I’d start with OU. I’ve always liked an OU/UT or OU/KU pairing. Former OU President Dave Boren always wanted a Big Ten invite, but alas he retired in 2018. If OU is serious about moving, perhaps the Big Ten’s academic side would intrigue the OU leadership.

            Like

        2. Doug

          Mike,
          If Missouri would consider leaving SEC to join BIG, Then SEC could take Oklahoma State and solve the so called “Oklahoma problem.” A&M doesn’t sound in favor of TX & OK moving to SEC. Wonder why no interest in BIG?

          Like

          1. Mike

            @Doug – I am not a Mizzou expert, but I don’t see them going anywhere. IMO – as soon as your are in the Big Ten or SEC, your realignment journey has ended. I also don’t see the SEC taking OSU. The SEC requires 3/4 majority to admit a member, so unless there is some sort of “gentleman’s veto” (i.e. not a formal veto, but a desire to be unanimous) then A&M will probably vote in favor if the other 13 do.

            Like

    1. Mike

      Not denying.

      https://www.hookem.com/story/sports/football/2021/07/21/texas-oklahoma-officials-evasive-when-asked-possible-discussions-sec/8047054002/


      An announcement could come within weeks, the newspaper reported. However, high-level sources at both schools were evasive when asked about the situation by the American-Statesman.

      “Sorry, I can’t comment on all the athletic rumors swirling around right now in this crazy time,” Texas President Jay Hartzell told the Statesman last week.

      A source in Oklahoma athletics department in the told the Statesman, “Come on now? Is this groundhog day all over again?”

      Like

    2. Mike

      Like

    3. Mike

      Like

  53. Brian

    Any thoughts on a scenario where SEC and Big Ten combine on an NIL agreement where they allocate a certain % of annual athletic revenue for distribution to players? This could accomplish several things – provide incremental compensation to players, give the conferences some control/visibility over the process, and allow SEC/Big Ten to further leverage their dominance.

    One idea I had is for the conferences to allow schools to distribute X% of their annual conference payouts to players, but allow the schools to make individual distributions as they see fit. For example, Ohio State and Minnesota would have the same amount of total dollars in their pool to distribute, but give Minnesota the ability to offer a higher percentage of their pool to a 5-star QB to try and persuade him to attend there over a blue blood like Ohio State. It would be a fun way to try and even the playing field while keeping everyone operating under the same rules.

    Another concept would be to do something like the MLB draft bonus pools, where the worst teams get a little bit more money to offer to players than the best teams to help enhance competitiveness.

    Like

    1. Brian

      A few things:

      1. Welcome, new Brian.

      2. I don’t see how what you describe would be legal. It sounds like collusion to me. If schools can give X%, why is X limited at all?

      3. Schools don’t control the NIL money. Plus, they don’t want to start paying players. That just costs them money.

      Like

    1. frug

      The PAC schools that voted to block the admission of the Oklahoma schools 10 years ago should be kicking themselves harder than anyone since the Big East schools that voted against Penn St.

      Like

      1. ccrider55

        Ha!

        I think (but not as strongly as a couple years ago) the Pac is the likely destination, if there is a move, due to the ability and willingness to take TT and OkST as well. Texas politics…

        Like

  54. Alan from Baton Rouge

    From an ESPN.com article that just posted:

    Bjork said he will be “diligent in our approach to protect Texas A&M.”

    “We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas,” Bjork said. “There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 — to be stand-alone, to have our own identity.”

    Texas A&M, along with Missouri, left the Big 12 to join the SEC in 2012.

    Bjork said he and fellow SEC athletic directors had not discussed bringing Texas and Oklahoma into the conference. The athletic director also said he was unaware of any language in Texas A&M’s deal with the SEC that would prohibit the league from adding another team from the state.

    Like

  55. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Bjork said he will be “diligent in our approach to protect Texas A&M.”

    “We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas,” Bjork said. “There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 — to be stand-alone, to have our own identity.”

    Texas A&M, along with Missouri, left the Big 12 to join the SEC in 2012.

    Bjork said he and fellow SEC athletic directors had not discussed bringing Texas and Oklahoma into the conference. The athletic director also said he was unaware of any language in Texas A&M’s deal with the SEC that would prohibit the league from adding another team from the state.

    Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Loki – your Owls may get a call from the B-12 or most likely the American.

      If UT & OU make the move to the SEC, I’m sure Bowlsby calls Houston, SMU, UCF, USF, Cincy, Memphis, BYU, Colorado State and Boise State, not necessarily in that order. Maybe my Tulane Greenies get a call as well.

      Like

      1. loki_the_bubba

        B12 is very unlikely. They’ll put together a list like this to get 2 or 4 additions:

        BYU
        Houston
        Cincy
        Memphis
        UCF
        USF
        Air Force
        Colorado State
        SMU

        Rice will be well below that.

        But a depleted AAC or MWC might be a possibility…

        Like

      1. frug

        Well that’s what you get for working instead scouring the internet for realignment rumors! You need to get back into a 2010 mindset. Obama’s still president, Greece is bankrupt, and cable bills are going through the ceiling but no one really believes cord cutting is a real thing.

        Like

    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Mike – I would think that would be about it. Also, if all these rumors are true about UT & OU to the SEC, ESPN will blow up their current contracts (SEC, B-12 & LHN) and make everybody feel OK with the deal.

      Picking up two those two Kings will be all the Barons, Knights and Peasants very rich.

      Like

  56. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Frank – the SEC out-of-division rotation is set through the 2025 season. Actual dates for conference games are set one year out. I think the B-12 grant of rights expires after the 2025 season. The timing looks perfect, although five years is a long time to wait.

    A lot has changed in the last decade. The next round of re-alignment will be more about national TV ratings and ad rates, not cable carriage and markets. Also, it looks like the presidents outside the B1G are viewing conference memberships as more about sports this time around, and thinking more like TV executives and fans.

    Like

  57. loki_the_bubba

    Like

  58. Mike

    Like

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