December 4, 2020

College Football Playoff won’t expand to eight teams despite proposal from Pac-12 for 2020

The College Football Playoff has no intention to expand its field for the 2020 season despite a suggestion from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott that it double in size from four to eight teams, sources told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. Brought forth during a Wednesday meeting with the CFP Management Committee, this is the first time a pitch for an expanded playoff from a Power Five commissioner has been made public.

Scott’s suggestion for an eight-team playoff comes during a year marred by staggered, uneven and shortened schedules due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion was first reported by ESPN.

CFP sources told CBS Sports that Scott merely “mentioned” expansion in terms of asking, “Is this something we should consider?” during a call with the committee. The discussion among the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick was not contentious.

It had long been speculated that, because of COVID-19, expansion of the four-team bracket would be a way to recoup some lost revenue for the sport.

The committee oversees and sets policy for the CFP. The Pac-12 is seen as the most vulnerable of the Power Five conferences in terms of playoff eligibility this season. Its is playing the fewest games of any Power Five league (seven) and is not starting its conference-only schedule until Nov. 6. The other Power Five conferences are all playing at least 10 games.

No action was taken Wednesday to create a threshold for playoff eligibility. It has been recommended by multiple NCAA committees that the organization remove all on-field bowl eligibility restrictions for the 2020-21 cycle.

The CFP is entering its seventh season as part of a 12-year contract between the 130 FBS schools and ESPN. If the four-team bracket were to be expanded, ESPN would have to find additional revenue amid the COVID-19 crisis to pay out the schools.

“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format,” CFP chairman Bill Hancock toldĀ ESPN’s Heather Dinich. “They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”

Since the creation of the CFP in 2014, the Pac-12 has had two teams — Oregon and Washington — make the field in six seasons, the fewest of any Power Five conference. The Pac-12 has missed the CFP three years in a row.

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