Conference Reconfiguration Spurs Reevaluation of Automatic Qualifications in 12-Team College Football Playoff

by Ethan Kim
College Football Playoff Reconfiguration

The executives overseeing the College Football Playoff convened on Wednesday for their inaugural meeting since the disintegration of the Pac-12 instigated a wave of conference reconfiguration. This realignment has led to tentative discussions around potential alterations to the number of automatic bids designated in the forthcoming 12-team postseason format, set to be launched next year.

Amid the flux in college athletics generated by ongoing realignments, the 11-member management committee, which still counts George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12 among its members, engaged in preliminary dialogues about the structure of future playoffs. The current season will be the last to feature a four-team playoff format.

Greg Sankey, Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, indicated that although the meeting addressed the shifting landscape, it was not the predominant focus of their discussion. “The atmosphere was cordial. Conference shifts are not an unprecedented experience for us,” he noted.

Sankey opined that the evolving structure and composition of major college football conferences necessitate a reconsideration of whether a 12-team model with six slots reserved for league champions remains the most effective approach. “The situation requires clarity, which we currently lack and may continue to lack,” he stated.

The Pac-12’s future remains uncertain following the departure announcement from six of its schools less than a month ago. “My concentration is on the present season and our aim to secure a national championship,” commented Kliavkoff, following the meeting at a hotel near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

Further complexities arise as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) contemplates adding Stanford and California to its roster. The feasibility of this expansion, which would also potentially involve SMU of the American Athletic Conference (AAC), remains indeterminate.

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco, who has been in talks with SMU’s leadership, underlined the significance of preserving automatic playoff entries for conference champions, irrespective of how the landscape of realignment eventually settles. “No matter what the configuration, access remains crucial,” Aresco emphasized.

Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, referred to honoring league champions as a “fundamental tenet.” He expressed satisfaction with the depth of the dialogue, even though not all issues were thoroughly examined. “Depending on the final number of conferences, there’s room for a meaningful discussion about the quota of champions as well as at-large entries,” Steinbrecher suggested.

It took the CFP management committee over a year of negotiation to finalize the expanded 12-team model, initially proposed in the summer of 2021. This model stipulates that the six highest-ranked conference champions, along with six at-large selections, will participate, irrespective of their conference affiliations.

The recent realignment led to four schools from the Pac-12—USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington—committing to join the Big Ten in 2024. Moreover, four others—Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah—have pledged to join the Big 12 next year after the Pac-12 failed to secure a media rights deal capable of sustaining competitiveness with their Power Five counterparts.

With the landscape of college football in flux, the management committee had initially intended to focus on logistical planning for the 12-team playoff’s 2024 debut. Among the decisions reached in the meeting was the extension of a $3,000 travel stipend per game for the families of 125 players per team.

The next planned meeting is set for the final week of September in Chicago, although additional meetings are expected to address the ongoing realignment repercussions. “A stable landscape is preferable, but we currently don’t have that,” observed Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

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For AP college football coverage: https://bigbignews.net/college-football and https://bigbignews.net/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about College Football Playoff Reconfiguration

What is the main focus of the article?

The main focus of the article is the potential impact of recent conference realignments on the structure of the College Football Playoff, specifically concerning the number of automatic bids in the upcoming 12-team postseason format.

Who are the key figures quoted in the article?

The key figures quoted in the article are Greg Sankey, Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12; Mike Aresco, Commissioner of the American Athletic Conference; and Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference.

What changes are being considered for the College Football Playoff?

The changes under consideration include potential alterations to the number of automatic bids in the 12-team postseason format. These changes are being considered in light of the realignments that have recently occurred in major college football conferences.

What is the current state of the Pac-12 Conference?

The future of the Pac-12 is uncertain, with six schools recently announcing their departure. The remaining schools include Washington State, Oregon State, Stanford, and California, but there is speculation that Stanford and California may also leave soon.

What is the Atlantic Coast Conference contemplating?

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is considering adding Stanford and California to its roster, and this move could also potentially include SMU of the American Athletic Conference.

What did the CFP management committee previously agree upon for the 12-team playoff model?

The CFP management committee agreed upon a 12-team model that would include the six highest-ranked conference champions along with six at-large selections. This plan was designed to accommodate 10 Bowl Subdivision conferences, including the Power Five.

When is the next scheduled meeting for the CFP management committee?

The next scheduled meeting for the CFP management committee is set for the final week of September in Chicago. However, additional meetings are expected to address the repercussions of the ongoing conference realignments.

What is the status of the $3,000 travel stipend for families of players?

The CFP’s program of providing a $3,000 travel stipend per game for the families of 125 players per team will be extended, as agreed upon in the recent meeting.

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TedFinancial August 31, 2023 - 11:14 am

Surprised they’re still pushing that $3,000 travel stipend in the midst of all this chaos. Got their priorities straight, huh.

SarahAnalyst August 31, 2023 - 11:53 am

Fascinating article! The ripple effects of these realignments on the CFP could be massive. Really makes ya wonder how it’ll all shake out.

MikeSportsFan August 31, 2023 - 3:32 pm

Wow, didn’t see that coming with the Pac-12. If they keep losing schools like this, they’ll be Pac-None soon lol.

LindaStats September 1, 2023 - 2:15 am

Never thought I’d see the day where major conferences could essentially dissolve. What an era for college football.

JohnGridiron September 1, 2023 - 2:15 am

if the ACC gets Stanford and Cal, that’s a game changer for sure. Still, more meetings needed, the landscape’s all over the place.

EmilyCollegeFan September 1, 2023 - 2:50 am

Good read! But what’s the point of a 12-team playoff if the conferences are so unstable? Seems like they’re putting the cart b4 the horse.


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