MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The first steps in a lengthy process to expand the College Football Playoff system are underway and West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee will be a voice in the discussions that could triple the size of the playoff field from four teams to twelve.
Gee, who formerly served two stints as the president at Ohio State University, was a vocal opponent of creating the original playoff setup while at OSU.
“I voiced my concerns publicly about the fact that I thought a playoff would harm college football. Well, I lost and I was wrong, which is not the first time,” Gee said on MetroNews Talkline Monday morning.
“We have been losing fan support and a number of other things. As with everything in life, we are in a fast forward world right now. This is probably the best solution to creating more interest in college athletics.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) June 14, 2021
The proposed format will give first round byes to the teams seeded one through four. Teams seeded fifth through twelfth will play in on-campus first round games, setting up quarterfinal games on January 1 or 2. It is likely that traditional bowls will host games as they have previously done.
Gee is a member of the CFP board of managers. He says the CFP management committee sub-group that crafted the proposal looked at several options and the 12-team model gained the most traction.
“They came up with sixty permutations about this. They did think about six and eight and ultimately twelve. The reason is that we have the ‘Power 5’ conferences and then the ‘Group of 5’. We wanted to make sure we could get as many people on board without a lot of rancor.
“Secondly, one of the things that was most persuasive to me is that when you get closer to the end of the season, only a few teams are really in the hunt for being able to be in that four-team scenario. With twelve teams, there could be upwards of 30 to 40 teams that could still be in the hunt in October and November. That increases the possibility of college football having more fan support but also making it more exciting and more competitive.”
If there are no changes to the 12-game regular season schedule, college teams could play as many as 17 games. Gee says the academic component will be a significant topic of discussion on June 22.
“That’s one of the things we looked very carefully at. We will be talking about that a week from tomorrow when we have our meeting. The subcommittee has worked very hard at decreasing the amount of conflict we are going to have with academic calendar. That obviously is very important.”