On Tuesday, the Big 12 Conference announced it would be leaving for the SEC. This move has huge implications on the College Football Playoff and how it will expand in the future.
The big ten expansion rumors 2021 are swirling. If the Big Ten were to expand, it would affect how the College Football Playoff is expanded.
With the proposal of a 12-team College Football Playoff, college football was already on the verge of historic change when Oklahoma and Texas formally announced their desire to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC earlier this week, a move that would create a seismic shift in the power structure of college athletics.
The two plotlines are now intertwined, with no clear timeline for either to materialize.
On Thursday, first-year Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN that “it’s regrettably likely to postpone approval of a CFP expansion proposal.” “I believe there will be some realignment repercussions before we can figure out what structure for an enlarged CFP is best for all of college football.”
This summer is a window for a feasibility study to determine exactly how and when a 12-team field would be implemented — an opportunity for the 10 FBS commissioners to solicit feedback from their coaches, athletic directors, and players before reporting the results of their studies to the 11 university presidents and chancellors in late September.
The crazy dynamic of not knowing who may be in what conference by the time any change is enacted is now part of those discussions, as is the possibility that the remaining eight Big 12 clubs might disperse to other conferences. The 12-team proposal includes the six highest-ranked conference champions, as well as the other six highest-ranked teams as selected by the selection committee.
“There has been movement, and we’re all keeping an eye on it,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “We’ll know more as September approaches, but we’re all keeping an eye on it.”
On Thursday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN that the eventual additions of Oklahoma and Texas to his league should have no effect on his league’s consideration of a 12-team structure, although he acknowledges that there may be some resistance for a number of reasons.
“The 12-team playoff structure was a proposal for which the working group was tasked with determining the most suitable format for consideration by the management committee and board of managers,” Sankey stated. “I continue to believe that the collective effort resulted in a framework that is worthy of consideration.” If there isn’t consensus on that movement, I believe we all anticipated it to happen regardless of the conditions. Then we’ll have to work together to find out a better strategy.
“We still think a four-team playoff can work,” he added, “as I’ve stated repeatedly before the evaluation started with the working group, throughout the working group’s activities, and even after.” “We must not lose sight of the factors that influenced the development of four works to this point. I’m hopeful that people will give the format their full attention, and I’ll be open to their ideas and perspectives, but I don’t believe it’s appropriate for some people who don’t understand the full context of why we went through this review to make statements without first calling and asking about the decision-making process.”
Oklahoma and Texas have asked that their SEC membership begin on July 1, 2025, but it may happen sooner with legal maneuvering and 18 months’ notice, as required under Big 12 rules. The CFP also has a target date of 2025, which is when its current 12-year deal with ESPN ends. ESPN would have exclusive TV rights if the playoffs were to extend before 2025. If the CFP waits long enough, it may be able to sell it on the open market. Some decision-makers have voiced dissatisfaction with the way the expansion plan was crafted.
“Some worry about the way the 12-team proposal was structured, with a restricted number of individuals in the meeting and imprecise information amongst the people who were in the room,” Kliavkoff told The Athletic on Wednesday. “The appropriate procedure is for everyone with a say to have a say, and everyone to operate with the same knowledge.”
“The entire set of ideas and objectives that led to the 12-team plan have nothing to do with any of the recent changes,” Sankey said, adding that if asked, he would be glad to explain.
“I understand that George is new to his position and didn’t benefit from the debate two years ago that influenced the working group’s discussion,” Sankey added. “I’d be glad to explain why the 12-team plan was based on a comprehensive set of principles and objectives that have nothing to do with current events, but I haven’t received that request. I’m confident we’ll have the chance at some point.”
The playoff will not extend this season or in 2022, according to CFP executive director Bill Hancock, meaning the earliest it might expand is before the 2023 season. On Monday, Hancock told ESPN that the talks are still on track for the Sept. 28 meeting.
In a short phone conversation from Tokyo, where he is helping for the Olympics, Hancock added, “The timetable hasn’t altered.” “Conference presidents, athletic directors, coaches, professors, and players are still providing input.”
While some speculated that the suggested format would be accepted in September, Sankey warned in June that this was not necessarily the case. On Thursday, he repeated that position, but not because of the OU-Texas relationship. The same roadblocks, he added, remain, notably the specifics of the 12-year deal, which continues until 2025.
“Regardless of the developing climate, the difficulties to act early were obviously there six months ago, a year ago,” he added. I anticipate some of them to surface in the months ahead, and I believe that blaming one factor for those difficulties overlooks the larger picture, which is why we’re going to act quickly to improve things.
“In other words, you have bowl ties, agreements between leagues and bowl games, the bowl and the College Football Playoff, and the bowl and ESPN,” he said. “A series of choices taken in 2012-13, leading up to the 2014 season, that includes 12-year contracts or two sets of six-year contracts, had several levels. Those are the main stumbling blocks to making a quick change. No one knows whether we’ll be able to work through them in isolation from other activities.” The procedure was aided by a number of sources.
Several people familiar with the process concurred with Kliavkoff that the OU-Texas change may cause the decision to formally embrace a new format to be delayed, but not derailed. There’s also the personal connection aspect to consider. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12 was one of four members of the CFP subcommittee that worked closely with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick during the last two years.
The transfer of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC hasn’t altered the timetable for potential playoff expansion, according to Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. Ralph Russo/AP Photo
Despite Bowlsby’s constant communication with Sankey about the playoff and navigating their respective conferences through a 2020 season ravaged by the pandemic, the Big 12’s top executive has publicly stated that he and the rest of the conference were unaware of the SEC’s partnership with his league’s flagship schools.
While there is a feeling of betrayal, Sankey told ESPN on Friday that as a member of the CFP’s management committee, he expects to be able to work with Bowlsby.
“Let’s take a look back in history at how people have worked together to overcome adversity,” Sankey remarked. “There was movement in 2010, with 2011 dating back to the Big East and the ACC. There were some hiccups, but we all have a role to play. I believe there is a degree of respect that exists now and will continue to exist in the future. There are difficult moments, but those in positions of leadership have always been able to work through the difficult aspects of our relationships and job.”
While some in the sport have expressed private and public worries about the prospect of an SEC-laden, 12-team tournament that might one day include both Texas and Oklahoma, others continue to support the structure, believing it will offer more chances to a broader variety of teams.
Over the last seven years, five schools have grabbed 22 of the 28 semifinal berths, according to Sun Belt commissioner Keith Gill. According to Gill, if the suggested 12-team format had been implemented to the previous seven years, 39 clubs would have qualified for the playoffs. He believes that having more teams in the playoffs overcomes any impending uncertainty regarding conference realignment.
“From my viewpoint, even if there is ambiguity, I believe we’d still be comfortable making a choice,” Gill told ESPN on Thursday. “One of the reasons for this is that there is always some level of uncertainty. We thought there was stability a month ago, and we knew where everyone would be. Do we ever find out? That is the actual question. I’m not sure whether we’re waiting for some kind of indication that everything is going to be OK and everything is calm on the Western Front. It’s one of those situations where we may have to wait a long time.”
At the league’s recent media days, Phillips said he asked Swarbrick to officially submit the 12-team idea to ACC coaches and athletic directors.
Phillips added, “That has now been returned to campus.” “This group of coaches and athletic directors is now even more well-informed.”
And not everyone is a fan of a 12-team playoff.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters at ACC media days, “Our squad isn’t for it.” “They don’t want to play more games, and to be honest with you, I’m not sure if 12 teams is good enough. So you’re going to play more games just to play more games, and I think the more you expand it, the less important the season becomes and the more you become the NFL, as far as, you’re in the playoffs? Well, why play Trevor [Lawrence] in this game if you’re already in?”
North Carolina coach Mack Brown had previously said that his team preferred an eight-team system, and that conference champions, in addition to the top Group of 5 winner, should get an automatic bid.
Jon Steinbrecher, the commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, told ESPN on Wednesday that he is still working through the communication process with his membership. Despite the fact that the conference has yet to take a formal stance, Steinbrecher said the overall tone has been favorable.
“That’s not to say there haven’t been some critical eyes as we search for additional information,” he added. “That will certainly play a part in where our position ends up, but the tone has been positive to thus point.”
Mississippi State president Mark Keenum said he didn’t believe “nobody in the room had a significant issue with the idea of this 12-team plan” when the commissioners and presidents gathered in Dallas in June to discuss the playoff.
The idea hasn’t changed, but the makeup of the conferences participating has, and the 10 FBS commissioners and Swarbrick have yet to meet informally to discuss it.
“I’m excited for the day when we can all exchange notes,” Steinbrecher remarked.
When the 22 commissioners and presidents meet in September, one high-ranking person engaged in the process told ESPN that he anticipates a “very mixed spectrum of opinions.”
“It’ll definitely be a little uncomfortable meeting since there’s a little bit of distrust,” the insider said. “It’s a situation right now where I believe it’s fair to say that not everyone trusts everyone other because there are so many moving pieces,” says the author.
The big 12 expansion rumors 2021 are currently circulating the internet. It is unknown what will happen to the conference, but it’s possible that it will expand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC?
Yes, Oklahoma and Texas have joined the SEC.
Is Oklahoma going to the SEC?
Oklahoma is currently a member of the Big 12 Conference.
When would Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC?
- sec expansion 2021
- college football realignment 2021
- sec realignment with texas and oklahoma
- ncaa conference realignment 2021
- conference realignment rumors 2021