Clemson Football: CFP Playoff Board of Managers vote to expand playoff

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks with media during midweek interviews in Clemson, SC Thursday, September 1, 2022.2022 Clemson Football Coach Dabo Swinney
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks with media during midweek interviews in Clemson, SC Thursday, September 1, 2022.2022 Clemson Football Coach Dabo Swinney /

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers voted to expand the playoff to 12 teams and to implement the new format as soon as possible, Friday in a move that could impact Clemson football in the very near future.

it is only the first step in the process, but it feels like expansion has gained momentum over the summer and now it’s a done deal.

The committee is scheduled meet on Thursday in Irving, Texas and begin figuring out how to implement the plan.

The model that was presented in 2021 included six automatic qualifiers and six at-large teams and allows for future expansion to accommodate 16 teams should that be desired.

Initially, it was believed  the playoff would not expand before the end of its current contract  in 2025, but now it appears that it could happen earlier, in particular ahead of the 2024 season.

Estimates have placed the 12 team playoff value at double the current $600,000,000 and by not expanding before 2026 the sport is theoretically missing out on $600,000,000 per year.

My concern about expanding the playoff has always been the devaluation of the regular season, in a sport that almost every game means something.  I believe that if a team is able to make the playoff with 2 losses for example, it could, emphasize could, change the dynamic of some regular season games.

College football has been unique in that a loss could, and often does, effectively end any championship hopes for teams and two loss teams have no shot in the current format.

The expansion of the playoff could help Clemson football, but until I see the details it’s difficult to get fully onboard

I see the value in expanding the playoff, and I’m not just speaking monetarily.  There is an element of excitement around a “tournament” style playoff and it appears that’s the direction that football is now headed.

Another concern for me is that the 12 team playoff will be dominated by the SEC and Big 10, with the power of the media and full-blown networks and hundreds of millions of dollars behind them. Perhaps that won’t come to fruition if the initial model is followed, as that allowed for the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at large teams in the 12.

For example, while I understand this is not how teams will be selected, last years final AP Poll contained 3 SEC teams, 3 Big 10 teams, 3 Big 12 teams, a PAC 12 team, Notre Dame, Cincinnati and 0 ACC teams (Pitt was 13th).

It’s not hard to see the “system” being gamed and schedules set in order to give your conference and the conferences with the biggest bank accounts will surely have more influence.

In one sense, I can see this expansion helping Clemson and reduce the need to find another conference other than the ACC, but I’d have know more about the final plan before I truly believe that to be the case, though.

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In the end, the devil is in the details and it’s difficult to make a concrete judgement while those are still being ironed out.