If you already want the College Football Playoff to expand, Bill Hancock still thinks you're going to be waiting a while.
Hancock, the executive director of the Playoff, said Tuesday the Playoff will not expand for 12 years, sentiments he previously relayed earlier in the month. Not so coincidentally, 12 years is the exact duration of the TV contract the Playoff signed with ESPN for the broadcast rights to the impending four-team version that kicks off this season.
While Hancock is saying no to expansion in the immediate future, his feelings disagree with a poll of FBS athletic directors. In a CBS Sports poll conducted in April, a (slight) majority of ADs felt the Playoff would expand in 10 years.
Expansion -- at some point -- feels inevitable and simply a matter of when, not if. But that when may come after the expiration of the TV contract like Hancock says, unless there's an expansion provision or an opt-out clause for the Playoff. Given the absurd rights fees paid for the Playoff ($5.6 billion over 12 years), the Playoff would be crazy to add more games to ESPN's schedule without getting more money.
When the NCAA Tournament floated the idea of expansion to 96 teams, the idea was met with a lot of unhappiness. It's already different with the College Football Playoff, likely because even 12 teams of 126 is a smaller percentage than 68 of 351, and simply because until the BCS, there was no "true" way of determining a national champion. And as we all know with the BCS, that process was flawless.
But I have an idea. How about we all just see how the College Football Playoff goes for at least 2014 and maybe even 2015 before changes are seriously discussed? This is college football, after all. Change doesn't happen very quickly. While we shouldn't simply be happy because change is happening, we could be stuck with the BCS. Or worse, we could have no championship system at all, leading multiple teams to declare themselves champions of the same season.
- - - - - - -