One of the most exciting and highly anticipated nuances of college football in the future is the expansion of the College Football Playoff from a four-team bracket to a 12-team bracket in 2024. The SEC has been regarded as the game’s strongest conference, anticipated to benefit from the expanded playoff model by receiving more teams in future playoff games.
But SEC commissioner Greg Sankey recently spoke with Greg McElroy about future playoff expansion and discussed what he will have his eye on the most in its early stages that are right around the corner.
“The ability to effectively administer the games at campus sites, that rises right to the top,” Sankey said. “How we work collaboratively with bowl games with the thought that they’d continue to be involved in hosting, and even beyond if they’re not in the CFP. It will be interesting to see how the bracket functions, I would anticipate some interest in modifications.”
The new model will definitely present new challenges in the world of college football, from campuses hosting playoff games to the assignment of bowl games in an unfamiliar format.
But 12 teams in the playoffs also means an additional amount of games for teams at an unprecedented level, which will present a fair share of scheduling challenges for Sankey and other college football decision-makers.
“And then the dates, which is big picture how the whole year plays around football and then the finite piece of where do games fit around the end of the season, conference championship games, the NFL season with the idea we’d tried to bring this to conclusion in a relatively efficient time frame,” Sankey explained.
New challenges can be scary, but campuses hosting high-stakes College Football Playoff games is an exciting new component that’s on the horizon. In early May, the CFP released the dates and bowl assignments for the 2024 and 2025 playoffs, revealing that all first-round playoff matchups will be hosted on campus.
A home crowd cheering on their team in the playoffs is music to the ears of college football fans, but also does present the challenge of smaller campuses now hosting a massive sporting event at a new level that they likely have not before.
“And smaller communities too, so you’ve got to take really really important football games at the end of the season and locate them on campus with relatively short notice,” Sankey said. “Our fans don’t appreciate, some probably experienced this with a forgotten December graduation takes place, and there’s in our league a couple three weeks spread on those dates, so maneuvering there. The NFL has expanded its regular season schedule and it’s playoff schedule so that impacts us, those are the things we’re going to have to be attentive too.”
There’s no question that the upcoming CFP expansion provides a world of exciting opportunities, but it will be interesting to see how Sankey and other decision-makers manage the new challenges that also come with those possibilities.