College Football Preview

Sources: CFP expansion approval in more doubt than ever

One source said that likely to further slow the expansion process are alternative proposals that are expected to come forwardGETTY IMAGES

Less than a month before CFP execs gather to consider next steps in the evolution of the current four-team field, "approval of a proposed 12-team expansion has never been more in doubt," according to sources cited by Dennis Dodd of There are "concerns about the process as well as whether the proposed structure is the right move for their conferences and teams." What appeared to be a simple approval process just months ago is now an "effort muddled in jealousy and doubt that lacks mutual trust between key parties." One Power Five source said that the "process to 'rush out' playoff expansion news earlier this year was intentional to get in front of the Texas and Oklahoma move becoming public." The consternation has risen to the point that sources said that they "support expansion at a number smaller than the proposed 12 teams, perhaps as few as eight." One source said that likely to further slow the expansion process are "'alternative proposals' that are expected to come forward." Sources said that there are also "concerns about the potential of teams playing as many as 17 games as well as the perception of the SEC dominating a 12-team format." Any change to the playoff field "requires a unanimous vote from the CFP Board of Managers." That group is "scheduled to meet with the CFP Management Committee to review a feasibility study of the 12-team field in late September." A source modeling the expansion process said a vote is "highly unlikely" (, 9/2).

OUT OF THEIR HANDS? USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes this year, the start of a new season "carries with it a nagging feeling about the future of college sports, a concern felt deep in the gut of so many coaches and administrators across the country that they are no longer in control of their own destiny." The upheaval has come with "such a furious punch that even the start of a new season can’t push the larger stakes to the back burner." On their own, any of the pertinent issues swirling around college sports this calendar year "would have been significant disruptors to an industry that typically evolves with the speed of a three-toed sloth." Instead, they have "been hit with the motherlode" (USA TODAY, 9/3).

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: In DC, John Feinstein wrote what the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 Alliance "cannot afford is for the SEC to swoop in and swallow Ohio State and Michigan or USC and UCLA or Clemson and Florida State, still the ACC’s second-most important program despite its recent struggles." That prospect "may sound far-fetched, but it’s not." Geography "has become irrelevant" in college athletics, especially in football, where everyone travels by charter and, if a team is flying coast-to-coast, it almost always travels on Thursday. Feinstein: "Ohio State and Michigan leaving the Big Ten? If the TV money’s there, anything can happen. Why would the SEC want UCLA and USC, neither of whom have been powers recently? Same reason: Adding the Los Angeles TV market would give a huge boost to the value of its TV deals" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/2).

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