The College Football Playoff Committee is currently meeting in Irving, Texas, for its annual spring meetings, which started on Tuesday and conclude on Thursday. With a 12-team playoff beginning in 2024, the CFP committee is currently discussing and planning the logistics for the expansion including postseason schedule, locations and revenue share. Media rights are not on the agenda but could be discussed.
CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd joined Sport Scene Tuesday to discuss the spring meetings.
Schedules and Locations
By tripling the playoff size, the CFP created a conundrum for the regular season and postseason schedules. To make room for an expanded playoff, the NCAA would likely have to move the season start up a week, which is currently called “Week 0,” Dodd said.
Under the new format, first-round games would be played at least nine days after conference champion games are completed, which would put the quarterfinal games around New Year’s Day. Additionally, the CFP would likely need at least a couple of days to complete the first two rounds. Additionally, moving up the start of the season could conflict with a school’s summer semester and affect fall camp starts.
A possible issue with the new schedule are collisions with the NFL. Specifically, the end of the CFP could coincide with the start of the NFL Playoffs, which has games on both Saturdays and Sundays. The NCAA and CFP could move to a mid-week national championship game to avoid a head-to-head schedule conflict.
All of this, however, is dependent on if the CFP committee can secure locations for the first round. Under the 12-team format, the top-four teams receive a first-round bye, and the higher seeds host the lower seeds. However, using campus stadiums, although preferrable, creates a chance for a headache and need for a backup plan, Dodd said. Specifically, some stadiums may not be available due to weather, which is a concern for northern schools, or fall graduations.
The quarterfinals and semifinals would be played on a rotation with the New Year’s Six bowl games, which replicates the current four-team format.
CFP’s Revenue and Rights
Amid a plethora of conferences expanding or decreasing, revenue distribution will be affected as the playoff also increases.
Currently, the conferences split revenue equally among their teams based on if a team makes the playoff. However, with conferences, Dodd noted that it wouldn’t be fair for a national champion from a 16-team SEC to make less than a team from a 10-team Pac-12. However, the CFP has reportedly developed a plan to ensure revenue is distributed based more on success rather than equally. Additionally, Group of Five conferences could make a case for more revenue as they expand as rapidly as the CFP.
Although not on the agenda, discussions over the next CFP media rights deal could arise. Currently, ESPN holds the rights with $600 million annual deal with the CFP that runs through 2025. College football is currently one of the only sports to have a single-outlet media rights deal for postseason play. With more games from expansion, as well as conferences having their own media deals, the CFP committee could decide on a multiple-outlet media deal for its games.
The regular season begins with seven games for Week 0 on Saturday, August 26. The 2023-24 College Football Playoffs begin on Monday, Jan. 1 with the semifinals at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The season concludes the following week with the national championship in Houston.