CFB Playoff Expansion: Alliance vs. SEC

Don’t pass by this article thinking this isn’t Clemson related, it most certainly has everything to do with the ACC in general, Clemson specifically. Having little knowledge on the subject, I’ve decided to educate myself in this entire process and where it stands.

Late this past summer, the season was eagerly anticipated and most college football fans were primed and ready. Then, the ridiculousness started. It was “casually” rumored, the Southeastern Conferences had secretly lured Texas and Oklahoma away from the Big XII to join their conference. A few days later, it was no longer rumor, it was fact.

Over the course of a few days, Big XII Commissioner Bob Bowlsby had seen his two cash cow’s poached. He was, well, pissed. Who could blame him?

Bowlsby had spent over six months working closely with SEC Commissioner, Greg Sanky, on the plan for playoff expansion. Sanky never even mentioned a hint of his sinister plan. It would become a toxic relationship and one that has derailed CFP Playoff expansion.

The hastily formed Alliance, The ACC, The Big XII and The BIG 10, in late summer, might prove to be more powerful that initially believed. For six months, it has stymied and help thwart the “King Maker” Sanky’s plans.

Personally, I see the merit of a smaller expansion plan, six maybe eight teams, but I understand realistically, it’s about the money, power and supremacy. The SEC’s grip on all three makes the twelve team expansion all but assured.

It is apparent to anyone willing to look, CFB is dramatically changing and not all that change is good. The SEC desires, driven by little more than greed, are not good for the rest of the conferences. It borders on collusion, the relationship between ESPN and it’s cash cow, the SEC Network. It’s almost monopolistic.

It seeks to distance itself from the “little ones” by siphoning off precious dollars. They’re systematically having their way without any regulation. It’s preposterous and it’s wrong and everybody knows it.

There are many expansion plans in discussion, but only six are being seriously considered. Each revolve around a twelve team model. The number of teams isn’t really the hold up on the expansion of the playoff. No, two other issues are the hang up. Automatic Qualifiers (AQ’s) and fair, equitable redistribution of the increased revenues. Simply, how many get in automatically and how much money will be paid. You can almost guess the motivation.

The more teams a conference can get in the playoffs, the larger cut of the revenue stream. If the twelve team model is adopted, the six AQ’s will be the champions of the Power 5 conferences and the highest ranking Group of 5 team.

Based on the biased nature of pre-season polls and up until the CFB playoff rankings are revealed in November, the SEC, in some cases could get the majority of the other six slots in the playoff. Yes, in this posturing prior to the playoff rankings, these polls Do matter.

Take every single year, the SEC has as many as 8-10 teams in the top 15. It gives the selection committee a starting point. The rest is almost a moot point. More teams from one conference, more revenue for the conference. That conference, the King of the Football jungle, The SEC.

The expansion committee has just about run out of time in their negotiations. The CFB Playoff Management committee (University Presidents and The CFB playoff executive committee) have signaled without unanimity on a plan, they will take over the process. So, right, wrong or otherwise expansion will happen.

Yes, CFB as we know it, is bracing for a hostile takeover and there is virtually little, outside of a miracle, that can be done. For Clemson it means, in the short term (five to eight years) financial “hard times,” as the ACC is locked into a bad television deal until 2035-36. The other P5 leagues are all about to renew their deals and the revenue gap will grow substantially.

The Tigers, with their ability to compete hindered, could be, once again be relegated to “Little Ole Clemson” literally. While I believe this won’t be the case, as Clemson has a way of doing the seemingly impossible. I guess only time will tell.

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