In case you haven’t heard, a 12 team playoff in college football is all but inevitable.
According to reports, the College Football Playoff Management Committee will consider expanding to 12 teams as early as this coming week. Under the proposal, the four highest ranked conference champions would receive an automatic bid and have a bye week for the first round of playoffs. The remaining teams would play each other, with the higher ranked team enjoying a tremendous advantage; hosting the game on their home turf.
There are varying opinions on playoff expansion, but that is largely irrelevant considering the excitement that will be injected into the sport and, oh I don’t know, just a potential wee little bump of $2 billion of revenue per year.
See, as much as we love the sport, it is a business first and foremost. If, I mean, when the expansion occurs, the NCAA will be licking their chops, anxiously waiting to enjoy that revenue from every conference, including the red headed stepchild of the CFB playoff: the PAC 12.
Now that we’ve established the inevitability, the question remains as to how it will affect Clemson and the ACC. For starters, Clemson is all but guaranteed a spot at the table. Gone will be the days where Clemson would worry about losing a single game and be left out in the cold.
Clemson is highly scrutinized for playing in the ACC, and without much quality competition, they are not only expected to win every single game but win in blowout fashion. Remember that year when Clemson won a nail bitter against UNC but continued to drop in the rankings on a weekly basis? Yeah, no pressure there.
Many fans would point to the fact that Clemson has made six straight CFP appearances and expansion doesn’t aid them, that it may even hurt their chances of winning another natty by adding teams that Clemson is highly unfamiliar with. Although that may be true, consider this; nothing lasts forever, and you can only be king of the hill so long.
This is true for every CFP dominating team. Dabo Swinney won’t be at Clemson forever; even the GOAT Nick Saban will move on eventually. Change is inevitable and roles change. This is true in all aspects of life, not just football. When the day that Swinney does move on, its nice to know that with this upcoming expansion, Clemson still has a chance to get a seat at the table.
It seems that this change could be beneficial to Clemson in the upcoming years. That is also true for the rest of the ACC, maybe even more-so. If you look at the top 25 playoff teams from last year, you will see that only one other ACC team (discounting Notre Dame because of the 1 year only addition) came close to making the proposed 12 team CFP; UNC. They were ranked 13, and would have just missed the cut.
If we are honest, we know that the chances of another ACC team making the CFP in its current format are next to nil. Perhaps this upcoming expansion would breathe new life into good ACC programs like UNC and Miami, and provide something these programs have sorely lacked in regards to participation in the CFP; hope.
Rest assured, the winds of change are a comin’ to the CFP. Best to embrace change, not shun it. It’s an exciting time.
What must the ACC do to better take advantage of it? That answer is very simple, my friends. Coach Henry Russell coined the popular phrase “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” When this change happens, the road to the CFP will be easier than ever before.
For the present, Clemson is still the dominant force in the ACC. Miami and UNC are poised to potentially break into the top 12. Can FSU regain some of their former football glory? Guess we will find out in the not so distant future.