Most observers predicted that the College Football Playoff would eventually expand. A recent CBS poll of athletic directors reveal that most believe playoff expansion will come within 10 years.
Three reasons cited for expansion
Access: While many consider a 16-team model superfluous, eight seems clean and fair.”I just think it gives more teams a chance to win it all,” a power-conference AD said.
Access was the reason cited more than any other by the 15 pro-expansion officials. College football is the only playoff model among the four major sports that doesn’t include at least eight teams.
The inevitable surplus of one-loss teams left out of future playoffs could push the powers-that-be to re-evaluate the system, ADs say.
Money: This is no secret. The new deal annually pays out about $290 million more than the BCS did, and though some of that might be driven by the market or inflation, it’s clear playoff football is coveted.
The worth of seven playoff games instead of three is relatively easy math.
That math would be hard to ignore for all involved — presidents, commissioners and especially the players.
One smaller-conference AD called the money potential “gargantuan.”
Yes, conferences are getting billions for television rights. But as expenses rise because of player stipends, revised player benefits (including long-term health care) and potential lawsuit losses in amateurism cases (O’Bannon, Kessler, etc.), schools might start nudging for new dough.
Coach needs an extra mil on his deal, right?
Public pressure: The four-team lineup might be pretty clear-cut some years.
But the first time the fifth and sixth teams have playoff-worthy resumes and are shoved in an ‘access’ bowl, Contra laser beams will be fired from every angle.
“I am sure the media will create a lot of pressure publicly to change,” one power-conference AD said.
The College Football Playoff and the playoff committee can survive a rough evaluation year or two. But what if, five years in, the clanging for more equity has become too loud?