D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott’s proposal to expand the College Football Playoff to eight teams for this season was rejected by the CFP management committee, according to Heather Dinich of ESPN.
Scott would have needed the approval of Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and 10 FBS commissioners to have the measure passed.
CFP executive director Bill Hancock told Dinich:
“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format. They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”
Stanford head coach David Shaw expressed optimism that an expanded playoff will eventually happen:
“Whether it’s six or eight, at some point in time it’s going to happen. We all know it; we all believe it. We’re just going to do it very, very slowly and methodically, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.
“The only thing that should matter is: Did you fight really, really hard your entire season to win your conference? If you did, you should get a ticket to the dance. Now, outside of those five, now who deserves it? You have to look at independents, you have to look at No. 2s in some of those conferences, look at the roads they traveled. That’s the only thing that truly makes sense, and I believe eventually we will get there, whether it’s six or eight teams, I think it’ll eventually happen.”
It’s a fair argument, though critics of an expanded playoff might argue that two- or three-loss conference champions aren’t necessarily worthy of a playoff berth. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine fans wouldn’t want to see more of the national championship decided on the field rather than in the rankings.
Scott told Dinich that the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic warranted consideration of an expanded playoff field this year.
“In light of the pandemic and the varied schedules and reduced number of games—including no non-conference games for most teams—the committee will have to evaluate. I felt it was our responsibility and important to consider an expanded playoff that would include more teams and automatic qualifiers who are conference champions this year.”