In a previous article we looked at what it would take for a Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff. There are a few scenarios for a “small school” team to make the playoff, however, the deck is severely stacked against them to do so. The amount of money to be made from this playoff is too great for these schools to just be included.
One suggestion that has been floated about is a playoff that only includes the Group of Five teams. This seems like it would be a good idea on the surface. The playoff would be a legitimate playoff featuring teams of possibly similar standing in the football pecking order. If you look at the bowl game system as it is now you don’t see many Group of Five vs Power 5 conference match-ups in the bowls anyways.
Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said that the conversations about the playoff have already taken place. Frazier’s looking for more opportunities to maximize profit of the schools who receive significantly less money than their Power 5 peers in terms of donors as well as TV contracts.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has warned against the formation of a separate playoff due to a few factors. One of those factors being that if there’s a separate playoff what’s the point in keeping the Group of Five in the same division of football as the Power 5? One would have to think that by separating off like this there would be a severe monetary loss to the Group of Five schools.
College football’s post season has been long criticized for not having a real clear way to crown its champion. Having a solid playoff in place would be a start to crowning a true champion. The four team playoff was a start but it needs to be more. The FCS has long had a tournament to crown its champion. This year FCS championship had a better drawing than eight different bowl games did.
Eric Thompson explains why a Group of Five playoff could work. He makes some solid point in favor of this playoff. Bowl games are becoming less popular by the year. They are a travel burden for fanbases. They lack quality match-ups in a lot of cases. The post-season reward is nice for the student athletes, but the market is overly saturated.
Navy head football coach Ken Nuimatalolo is not in favor of the Group of Five separating off. His ambitions lie with trying to get his team into the four team playoff. Nuimatalolo and many people within the American Athletic Conference don’t see themselves as a Group of Five school, thus do not want any part of a process that would minimize their standing in the college football pecking order.
College football will be interesting to watch over the next few years. It will be interesting to see how the playoff scenarios play out. Right now the four team playoff contract is in place until 2025. At that time a new contract can be negotiated. That is a long time with this particular playoff scenario. Something more drastic will happen before then. What that is, no one knows. College football could seriously evolve long before that date happens.