Saturday, October 16, 2021

Who benefits from a 12-team playoff?

This is a streaming topic because I watch college football via streaming. All of the games by all of the teams mentioned are available to watch via streaming.

Before the Southeastern Conference expanded to add Oklahoma and Texas to the fold, there was movement to expand the College Football Playoffs from the current 4-team setup to 12 teams. After the announcement of the move by the two schools, movement to expand the playoffs ground to a halt. Most talking sports heads said that the other conferences thought a 12-team expansion would benefit the SEC. I disagree. And the numbers by the sports talking heads back me up.

First, under the current setup, the SEC is the only conference that has had multiple teams in the same year, when #3 Georgia and #4 Alabama made it, won their semifinal games, and played for the championship. If you count Notre Dame as an ACC team in 2020, then the ACC had two teams that both lost their semifinal games.

ESPN has an article listing where things stand midway through the season. It shows who would be the likely playoff teams right now under the current 4-team setup and under the proposed 12-team setup.

Currently, the Allstate Playoff Predictor has:

  1. Georgia
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Alabama
  4. Cincinnati

Those would be the four teams in the playoffs, meaning two from the SEC. That's under the current setup, and has happened before, when Georgia and Alabama ended up playing for the title after the 2017 season.

But expanded to twelve teams, you have:

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Michigan
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Ohio State
  7. Iowa
  8. Michigan State
  9. Notre Dame
  10. Pittsburgh
  11. Penn State
  12. Coastal Carolina

That means two from the SEC; one each from the Big 12, ACC, American, and Sun Belt; one independent; and five from the Big Ten. Not much of a bump for the SEC, going from two teams to ... two teams. The Big Ten goes from none to five.

Maybe the Alliance has the wrong conference as their target?

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