At some point normalcy will return to college football. When that will be is anybody’s guess but it will come at some point.
When it does, much of the focus in the sport will return to matters like… College Football Playoff expansion. Yes, everybody’s favorite subject isn’t being forgot even if the attention is elsewhere nowadays due to the coronavirus.
Stadium recently conducted a wide-ranging survey of FBS athletic directors and one of the big questions asked was not surprisingly about the future of the CFP. To nobody’s surprise, the move toward eight or more teams in the annual postseason tournament is gathering plenty of momentum.
Per Brett McMurphy:
A whopping 88 percent of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) athletic directors want an expanded College Football Playoff when the current playoff contract ends after the 2025 regular season, according to a survey conducted by Stadium.
Of those athletic directors who favor an expanded playoff, 72 percent believe eight teams should qualify. Also, 66 percent of the ADs said the highest-ranked non-Power Five team should receive an automatic bid to an expanded playoff.
“More and more fans are only concerned with the playoffs,” a Power Five AD told Stadium. “That’s sad, but true, so we should expand the playoffs when possible. Even if that impacts the bowl system. We have to figure out a way.”
So mostly it’s been a question of when and not if. The focus on the latter has typically centered around the expiration of the CFP television contract with ESPN after the 2025-26 season. Executive director Bill Hancock has remarked a few times that there is no “look-in” with the deal to formally renegotiate the contract. Still, there would need to be some groundwork laid and a decision made well before 2025 in order to make the necessary changes to things like semifinal dates and stadium sites.
Given the potential revenue shortfalls due to the on-going COVID-19 situation, perhaps things will be accelerated over the course of the summer but we’re entering a window where the talk about moving to eight teams or beyond is going to start turning into some action.
It sounds as though the ADs are on board with formally expanding the chase for the national championship and this latest survey only confirms as much.