Washington State Coach Mike Leach went on a 10-minute rant, calling for expansion of College Football’s Playoff. Leach believes the playoff format should consist of at least 16 teams (he prefers 64), proposes the games be played during the month of December (which is currently vacant on the CFB calendar between the end of the regular season and the start of bowl season) and isn’t concerned that adding 15 games (in a 16-team format) would water down the TV product (as oversaturation has hurt the NFL). The outspoken Coach explained his system would even tie-in existing bowls, saying the number of bowl games “works out almost perfectly” with the number of additional playoff games (in a 64-team format).
Howie Long-Short: The only way for CFB to keep revenues on an upward trajectory is to increase the value of its broadcast rights; by expanding the playoff system and the number of must-see games broadcasters can carry. ESPN (DIS) is currently paying $7.2 billion over 12 years (expires in ’26) for 7 games/season; 4 major bowl games, 2 semi-final games and the national championship game. Under Leach’s “proposal”, CFB would add 8 playoff games/season (2 Saturdays that would be scheduled in early December). There will be pushback from those concerned about the physical and academic well-fair of the student-athletes, but ultimately it comes down to money. An 8-team playing is coming. 16 will follow. 64? That’s classic Pirate, pushing the envelope.
Fan Marino: I’m firmly against CFB playoff expansion. As the system currently stands, you need to win your conference championship game (in just about every scenario) to qualify. Once you get to 8 teams, you are now adding teams to the playoff that were not good enough to win their own conference. Those teams don’t belong playing for a National Championship. As for oversaturation, Leach is talking about 8 games between the Top 16 teams in the country; replacing low-level meaningless bowl games with high-level elimination playoff games. Where is the issue?