The ten commissioners of the FBS conferences as well as Notre Dame’s athletic director met last week to try to hammer out a deal for the expansion of the current four team College Football Playoff (CFP). There were reports over the summer that plans were underway to expand the CFP to twelve teams, perhaps prior to the expiration of ESPN’s current arrangement in 2025.
Since then, Texas and Oklahoma agreed to move to the SEC, causing a ripple effect through the sport, as the Big 12 followed up by filling their future vacancies with the addition of UCF, Cincinnati and Houston from the American Athletic Conference and BYU from the ranks of the FBS independents. Ignore for the moment that Orlando, Florida and Provo, Utah are only 2,319 miles from each other, making the future Big 12 the most far flung conference in college football.
Most importantly, it gives the Big 12 the same number of schools as their name, which is an improvement over the Big Ten, which has 14 teams. With the realignment, in combination with the SEC expansion to 16 teams, which they still haven’t figured out how to manage, somewhere along the line the other three Power Five conferences decided that they weren’t totally happy with the arrangement.
Thus the confab last week to discuss ways to make everyone, including the ever diminishing Group of Five and the ever powerful Group of One Notre Dame, happy with a new CFP configuration, which even an eight year old knows is an impossible undertaking. Attendees at the meeting even had the audacity to suggest that an extra game or two for what amount to professional football teams could somehow jeopardize academic integrity.
I’ll give you time to stop laughing before continuing and while I call the coaches for gymnastics, volleyball, soccer and other non-revenue sports to ask what it means to travel from Morgantown, West Virginia to Lubbock, Texas, a short 1,468 miles away without missing a sociology class. These buffoons that are running college football see one thing, oh wait, two things: Dollar signs and zeroes.
If anyone for one minute believes these meetings are about anything other than maximizing revenue for the game and their conference members is incredibly naïve. Last season, when Notre Dame realized they may not be able to cobble together a full schedule, the school all of a sudden got religion and decided to play in a conference for the first time in their storied history.
Where are they in 2021? Well, that bastion of integrity is back to their independent status after riding that single season ACC run to a CFP berth. How much more screwed up can this thing really be?
Do we actually trust ten money hungry conference commissioners and the athletic director at perhaps the most hypocritical institution in the country to get this thing right? Academic integrity, are you kidding me?
The good news, or wait, maybe it’s the bad news, because to be honest with you I can’t tell, the same group is at it again this week as I write this piece. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.