Big Ten, SEC may not be done trying to change 12-team College Football Playoff model

Washington State president Kirk Schulz had some interesting things to say about the College Football Playoff and what conferences like the Big Ten and SEC might be up to come 2026.

College Football Playoff
College Football Playoff / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

For now, we have a resolution on the College Football Playoff. On Tuesday, the college football world saw the board of managers unanimously approve a new 12-team format. It was a slight shift from the initially proposed one with the 12-team field being comprised of the five highest-ranked conference champions and the seven best at-large teams. Even a Pac-12 university president voted for this...

In speaking with Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports, Washington State president Kirk Schulz revealed his concerns about what the Big Ten and SEC might be up to in a few years. He suspects those two Power Four leagues will try to get a certain number of guaranteed spots from their league into the 12-team tournament. In most seasons, the SEC and Big Ten should be able to get four teams in apiece.

This would not play well with the ACC, Big 12, Group of Five and Notre Dame. Here is what Schulz said.

“I worry about any league getting a certain number of automatic berths beyond their champion. I wouldn’t be alone in that.”

The idea of automatic qualifiers was a huge holdup for playoff expansion, but Schulz reiterates that his conference's commissioner does not think this would be embraced by the general public at all.

“My commissioner tells me that there was an idea floated of a single league getting four [automatic qualifiers] into the playoff. You go, ‘Boy that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be well embraced by football fans around the country.’ The commissioners are fantastic but they are paid to look out for the betterment of their conference.”

If this comment was made by George Kliavkoff, who cares? He is out! However, Schulz did bring up a good point that each league's commissioners must consult these topics with university presidents.

“It might be contentious moving forward. I want to make sure that the presidents are talking about these things before commissioners say, ‘Here’s what’s in front of you [for approval]. Hope you like it."

While I understand why the Big Ten and SEC may feel this way, it is such a greedy maneuver to do this.

Washington State president afraid Big Ten, SEC will mess up the new CFP

In most years, the Big Ten and SEC are going to account for seven-to-eight of the 12 teams getting in. The Group of Five is probably only going to get one, maybe two if either the ACC or Big 12 has a year from hell and their conference champion is deemed undeserving of inclusion. But in most years, the ACC and Big 12 will have about three to four spots to utilize. Throw Notre Dame into that pot as well.

To me, I think this is the wrong tree to bark up if you are the Big Ten or SEC. I would be in favor of not guaranteeing a first-round bye for the four highest-ranked champions. In a vacuum, that could make sense in some seasons, but there is a decent chance that the Big Ten and SEC runner-up is still markedly better than the ACC and Big 12 champions. You understand why this is such a big problem?

I would say the five highest-ranked champions all deserve a spot in. If you want to say the four highest-ranked champions deserve either a first-round home game in front of their fans or a preferred neutral-site location of their choosing, I could get on board with that. However, for the Big Ten and the SEC to get at least four spots each year no matter what feels so blatantly decadent.

What I do understand is that this is a television product in the end, and the Big Ten and SEC are the two biggest revenue drivers in that order. Assurances of eight mega brands would be very appealing to advertisers working in conjunction with television networks. So with that in mind, can we please get the playoff on more than just ESPN? I'm sure CBS, FOX and NBC would all do a fantastic job, too.

The Big Ten and SEC are getting in at least seven combined teams annually, so why push the issue?

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