With the Pac-12 receiving so many death sentences this summer due to conference realignment, you better believe that will play a huge factor in how the new 12-team College Football Playoff format will be implemented. It was supposed to be six autobids and six at-larges, but with the Pac-12 on its deathbed, the expectation is that it will now be only five autobids, with seven at-large spots instead.
ESPN's Heather Dinich reported on Get Up Wednesday morning this is the direction the Selection Committee seems to be heading in with four power leagues left and one reserved for the Group of Five.
"I am at the Big Ten headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois. The College Football Playoff management committee — the commissioners and Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s athletic director — they’re meeting here today. They’re talking about the format, 5+7 maybe. Are they going to switch to that? I don’t know. But it’s definitely on the table and my sources indicate they are leaning towards that in a 12-team playoff.”
Even AAC commissioner Mike Aresco seems to be in favor of this autobid readjustment plan.
“I’m fine myself with the 5+7, assuming we stay at 12 teams. The 5+7 is something we really have to have, because otherwise, what’s the point of all the work we did for 6+6? If there’s no Pac-12, you’ve got four [power conferences], but you still want that fifth [spot] so that our group — 65 schools — has a shot at the playoff.”
The new College Football Playoff format with 12 teams will be implemented next college season.
College Football Playoff rumors: 6 autobids expected to go down to 5
This makes too much sense for it not to happen. It checks all the boxes of what all parties involved want out of an expanded College Football Playoff. While at first glance, you may think that other G5 leagues like the MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt would want a second AQ spot for their level of play, but Aresco is absolutely right. They have already done all the work. They are at the one-yard line.
You also have to remember that this is a television product at its very essence. For as great as it would be to see the AAC champion and the Sun Belt champion both make the expanded 12-team field, teams like Memphis and Coastal Carolina do not really move the needle, or as much as a team like Tennessee would as a potential seventh at-large bid recipient. The Vols make ESPN more money.
Overall, the news of this autobid readjustment plan does two things for me. One, it lets me know that yes, we are getting an expanded College Football Playoff next season. It is happening, baby. We are at the one-yard line in getting this done. And two, it is yet another painful reminder that the Pac-12 is cooked. That league was going to get a seat at the table finally, but it has died from playoff starvation.
If this is the last little hold-up in getting the 12-team format officially official, then that would be great!