College football needs a lot more schedule flexibility | Yahoo Sports College Podcast

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the constant flow of cancelations from the college football schedule because of COVID, the SEC's announcement that it plans to play a full slate on Dec. 19, and the lack of flexibility in the creation of the College Football Playoff schedule.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: The SEC now is going to potentially follow-- or maybe they've decided, putting games on the 19th, not just the SEC Championship Game, to try to get extra games in. Basically you're asking people to play four games in December. There's no break between the end of the season and bowls where you rest up. There's going to be none of these extra bowl practices. Is this even worth it? What-- you know, I don't know what will go, but that seems to be an issue.

Would there be a possibility of College Football Playoff getting pushed back? The NFL has already come up with a contingency plan because they're the NFL and they can do things, unlike college which stands around and can't do anything. Look, if key games with playoff implications are cancelled late in the season, they're going to expand the playoff to eight teams per conference. No one's going to get a bye. They may have to extend the season. They can push back the Super Bowl. They can get this thing in. They're going to get this thing in.

College, we're stuck with this December 19 date because the playoff committee says we've got to go on the 20th. Like, do we move that back? Could we have a switch to the schedule? Because I really feel like the longer we extend it out, the more likely we can fit games in where you push everything back, or is that just not the way college football operates and we're stuck with where we're at? And I think I know the answer, but I'm trying to have a discussion here. Pete.


PAT FORDE: That's an honest podcast host right there.

PETE THAMEL: Yeah. College football will not be nimble because it's never been nimble, and the people around it spend so much time and energy making sure it's not nimble that the NFL sits around and laughs. Like, the NFL just said yesterday, hey, you know what? We're going to expand the playoff. We are going to do what's best in this situation.

College football, there's nobody in charge. We've said this a million times. Every conference commissioner, every little bowl person is clinging to their slice of the cookie, and everybody puts on their orange blazers and pats each other on the back. But everyone is just, like, clinging to all the money they're making off amateur sports in such a way where it completely impedes progress.

And the lack of nimbleness from the big picture in college football right now during this pandemic is sad. Like, they're not thinking about what's best for the players. They're not thinking about what's best for the future of the sport. They're thinking about what's best for them.

DAN WETZEL: Let's make sure we get extra games in that mean nothing after the regular season ended. They literally want to play a full slate of regular-season games on December 19, the same day the champ-- just because the Big 10 Network and the SEC Network need--

PAT FORDE: Yeah, we need the inventory. We promised them this many games. We have to deliver. We need our deliverables so we can make x amount of gazillion dollars. That's what this boils down to.

I mean, the December games, so many of them are going to be so bad for so many reasons-- you know, finals. Players have checked out. Weather sucks. Games don't matter.


PAT FORDE: You can already go to a bowl game if you're 3 and 6, so why are we playing this game to be 4 and 6 or 3 and 7?

DAN WETZEL: Finals? Why would you study for finals? We have to play a game that nobody gives a crap about. The season's over, you know.

PAT FORDE: Pete, you know, I can't really improve upon what you said as far as, you know, this is a sport that's never been nimble and is set up to remain un-nimble. These people, in their minds, moved heaven and earth just to have this season the way it is. You want to ask them to do more? Uh uh. Uh uh. They ain't moving that New Year's Day semifinals. I would be shocked if they did. And the TV people probably wouldn't like it either because they've got their schedule set, and they want the NFL playoffs to be over here and the college playoffs here.

So, you know, I think that we are probably stuck with what we have, which we'll see if we can, A, get there and, B, then actually have those games transpire. And no, we are not going to see any fundamental improvement to it.

DAN WETZEL: That's pretty much what I thought.