'The system is broken': Pac-12 commissioner offers candid remarks on the College Football Playoff
Nine years into the 12-year TV contract for the College Football Playoff and plenty are ready to see the system change again. To be completely fair, some have been ready for a while. Four is better than what we had with two, many argue, but expansion has felt likely ever since the CFP was instituted and inevitable since this summer.
Expansion talks have stalled after a 12-team model was recommended by the CFP working group earlier this summer. Chief among the reasons why is an intense divide over how to handle the power conference champions.
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has every reason to fight for automatic qualifiers (AQs) as the Pac-12 champion has been left out of five straight CFP fields. There’s a split among FBS league commissioners and it seems the most likely scenario now is that rather than expansion happening prior to the end of the 12-year contract with ESPN, the attention shifts to setting up what the invitational will look like under the next deal.
Kliavkoff spoke with The Oregonian’s John Canzano this week and said, “The system is broken.”
Asked Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff about expansion to the four-team College Football invitational tournament: “Candidly, given everything that’s been said publicly, looks like we are stuck at four for a while."
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) January 5, 2022
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has much to gain by pushing back on AQs for Power Five champs. This year featured three P5 champions who had at least two losses. The Pac-12 champion had three losses. Spots for them would mean less of an opportunity for Sankey to get multiple SEC teams into the field.
The group also hasn’t been able to come to a consensus on which model would be best going forward, be it and eight-team field or a 12-team one. According to reporting in December from Ross Dellenger after the commissioners met, there are four models on the table: the original 12-team format that gives spots to the six highest-ranked conference champs and then six at-large berths, an alternate 12-team format that specifies automatic bids to the P5 champs and the highest-ranked Group of Five champ, and then an eight-team format that either includes AQs for the six highest-ranked conference champs or just takes the eight highest-ranked teams regardless.
Sankey has publicly stated he’d be fine sitting at four.
Kliavkoff clearly wants to see some change.
You can hear more of his interview with Canzano below: