College football has undergone dramatic changes recently.
The tradition of the sport has slowly eroded away.
Now college football will never be the same after one shocking announcement.
The pageantry and tradition of big-time college football are what made the sport unique.
But college football has slowly begun to morph into NFL-lite.
Under the old transfer rules, players had to wait a full season to play at their new school (unless they were graduate transfers), but now players can transfer whenever, wherever.
Also, players are now allowed to be paid with NIL (name, image, and likeness) marketing deals.
Now the college football playoff is set to expand from four teams to 12.
From Sports Illustrated:
“The College Football Playoff’s executive board on Friday approved an expansion to 12 teams, bringing to an end a more-than-three-year endeavor and delivering the most significant change to the postseason in college football history. In a meeting that was cloaked in secrecy before a report from Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, the 11-member CFP Board of Managers, composed of presidents from each of the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame, voted unanimously to approve the 12-team format and implement it no later than 2026…The decision, wholly unexpected just a week ago, caps a yearlong stalemate over playoff expansion from the Management Committee, a corresponding CFP governing group of conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick, which failed to agree on an expansion format.”
Playoff expansion means more money, but it chips away yet again at the tradition of the sport.
In the past, one or two losses could dash a team’s championship hopes.
With playoff expansion to 12 teams, the regular season means less.
The pressure is not the same to run the gauntlet and go undefeated.
Playoff expansion also disincentivizes teams from scheduling marquee matchups out of conference.
Sports Illustrated continued:
“The 12-team format is the same model proposed 15 months ago by three commissioners and Swarbrick. The four were part of a CFP working group that spent two years creating the expansion proposal. The model grants automatic bids to the six highest-ranked conference champions, gives first-round byes to the highest ranked four champions and completes the field with six at-large selections. First-round games, between seeds 5 through 12, are expected to be played on campus or at a location designated by the better seed. A rotation of six bowls will host quarterfinals and semifinals.”
In addition to playoff expansion, NIL, and free transfers, conference realignment has also disrupted the sport.
Geographical rivals have been discarded in favor of television deals.
For example, USC and UCLA recently joined the Big Ten despite being the only west-coast teams in the conference.
In the past, USC and UCLA would play the Big Ten champion in the Rose Bowl; now they will play Big Ten opponents every week.
Playoff expansion has also taken the luster off other bowl game matchups, which have become watered down due to overabundance.
College football is turning into an entirely different sport.
It’s yet to be seen if all of the changes are for the better.