Loose translation: “I’ve got Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida in my league. I’m sick of the selection committee underrating our teams just because we’re not a Power 5 conference.”
The almighty SEC favors expansion, though non-SEC interests live in fear of a 12-team playoff with nearly half its field coming from you know where. On the day that two SEC teams met for the national title in Indianapolis, commissioner Greg Sankey emerged from another meeting to tell reporters, “Those who asked (to expand) are not ready to act. It’s in my best interest to leave it at four.”
Said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, speaking that same day: “There’s more parochiality than there needs to be.”
This is where a governing body might come in handy. Alas, there isn’t one. The NCAA has nothing to do with the CFP. The CFP conferences have no problem with that. The Power 5 likes being, er, powerful. Four of the Power 5 consider the SEC too powerful.
Though tabling a decision for four seasons will require a long table, this pause might be beneficial to all concerned. The playoff has been in place eight years. Only three of 16 semifinals have been decided by a one-score margin. Last month, Nick Saban was asked if expansion might yield more exciting games. His response: “If this is the best four teams and they played each other, I don’t see the logic that if we had more teams, they would be better games. I don’t see how that adds up.”
As Saban predicted, the playoff has reduced non-playoff bowls to afterthoughts. A 12-team field would require eight more games, the first four being staged at the home of the better seed. Welcome to the Notre Dame Bowl, as played in mid-December at Notre Dame Stadium in scenic South Bend, Ind.
Wrote Aresco: “In the most likely annual scenario, a team that reaches the national championship game will likely be a top-four team with a bye and will only play one more game than in the current playoff structure.”
Aresco believes the playoff must grow to give more teams a chance. He also believes only a team among the top four is apt to play for the title. And a 12-team field is needed … why?
Over eight years, the CFP’s 32 berths have been filled by 13 schools. Only six have won a playoff game. Only five have won a title. Five of the eight championships were taken by the SEC. The problem isn’t that there’s too much parity in college football. The problem – though it’s not problematic for the few on top – is that there’s almost no parity. There’s Alabama, and for a while there was Clemson, and now there’s Georgia.
The CFP doesn’t need eight more teams. Truth to tell, it could make do with two fewer.