Big 12 News

Money Still Makes 12-Team College Football Playoff Likely: Report

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Alabama vs Clemson

A 12-team College Football Playoff and an implementation by the 2024 season still appear to be the most likely outcomes of the current conversations around playoff expansion.

Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press reported there is more clarity around what members of the CFP’s management committee and other stakeholders are thinking after the management committee’s meeting in Illinois last week.

Those members and stakeholders spoke to Russo on condition of anonymity, but one source told him that “I’m confident we can” get to the original 12-team plan unveiled in June.


But Russo uncovered another reason why a 12-team playoff appears more likely than another plan. It has to do, of course, with TV money and the CFP’s current contract. Per Russo:

And then there is this: If the playoff expands to eight before the current contract with ESPN expires after the 2025 season, the network would be under no obligation to pay more for the new format than it already is for the current one. And why wait for a potentially huge windfall?

The reason? ESPN pays for a seven-game package already. That package includes the three ‘playoff’ games and the other four New Year’s Six games. So, an expansion to an eight-game playoff would fit into the current structure, which is great — unless you’re trying to make more money. And one has to assume the CFP would be seeking to make more money than the $600 million per year that ESPN pays now.

Other Big 12-related nuggets from Russo’s story?

One college administrator told Russo that “Had Texas and Oklahoma waited until Dec. 1 to say they are joining the SEC it would have probably already been done.”

Another administrator told Russo that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey should have “recused himself” from the process for that reason.

READ MORE: Kansas State Football: Re-Predicting the Rest of the 2021 Season

READ MORE: Despite National Media Narrative, the New-Look Big 12 Will Be Just Fine

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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