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Report: Many athletic directors believe College Football Playoff will expand in next 10 years

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
Bowl Championship Series executive director Bill Hancock, left, and Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, chairman of the College Football Playoff Committee, announce the 12 members selected to the committee during a news conference, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Irving, Texas. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning and Long are among the 13 people who will be part of the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2014
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Bowl Championship Series executive director Bill Hancock, left, and Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, chairman of the College Football Playoff Committee, announce the 12 members selected to the committee during a news conference, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Irving, Texas. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning and Long are among the 13 people who will be part of the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The number of teams involved in the College Football Playoff was a source of contention when the change from the BCS was first announced. Some preferred an eight-team format, and some athletic directors believes the playoff will be extended from four to eight teams in the not-so-distant future.

Based on the results of a poll conducted by CBSSports.com, many FBS-level athletic directors believe the College Football Playoff, which will begin with four teams this season, will be expanded to eight teams within the next 10 years.

The poll surveyed 27 athletic directors and 15 of them (55.5 percent) think the playoff will expand, then of the ADs believe the playoff will stick with four teams beyond 2023, and two others did not have “a definitive opinion on the matter.”

“Access” to potentially winning a national title was the “reason cited more than any other” among the 15 officials who are for an expanded model, but money also predictably plays a part.

Conversely, ESPN’s 12-year, $5.6 billion deal for the broadcast rights of the playoff extends through the 2026 bowl season. A change to the format would present a costly contract restructuring, which is one of the main obstacles in the potential to make an amendment.

Ohio State’s Gene Smith, one of few surveyed athletic directors who allowed himself to be identified, was one of the two who was unsure as to what would happen.

“Too many moving parts to get past four, in my view,” Smith said. “A lot has to change to the bowl system, and television partner relationships to protect the value of the regular season. Championships would be impacted, too.”

Others simply want to see how the four-team playoff plays out before considering any expansion.

“I really think we need to see how the four-team playoff works and allow it to settle in, as it will be different for all concerned … coaches, student-athletes and fans,” one “power conference” AD told CBS.

Personally, I always thought the eight-team format would be best. With four teams, I’m envisioning many one-loss teams getting spurned away from that fourth spot much like teams did for a spot in the BCS Title Game in years past. With that said, the College Football Playoff is still a welcomed change.

We’ll see how it plays out in 2014.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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