CFP says there is no change in format until the “dust settles” upon realignment

IRVING, Texas — For the first time since the Pac-12 was gutted by realignment, the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick met Wednesday to discuss the future of the College Football Playoff in a meeting described as “amicable.” ‘, but with a backdrop of uncertainty still looming over the league leaders.

If the Pac-12 disbands in 2024, as many expect, the CFP could change how teams are selected in the expanded 12-team format, which also begins in 2024. The current model includes the six highest-ranked conference champions as well as the next six highest-ranked teams seeded, allowing five Power 5 conference champions, plus one Group of Five champion. If the Pac-12 doesn’t exist, the CFP is considering changing the criteria to the five highest-ranked conference champions, plus the next seven highest-ranked teams. The group also discussed the option of 12 public teams.

No major decisions were made Wednesday, as the group is still waiting to see what happens to the four remaining Pac-12 teams — Cal, Stanford, Washington State and Oregon State. The ACC is expected to decide soon whether Cal, Stanford, and SMU can be added.

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was expected to join them in person, but told ESPN he did not do so due to travel issues in Charlotte, North Carolina, caused by Hurricane Idalia. He participated in the five-hour meeting via Zoom and did not provide the chamber with any update on potential conference expansion, according to CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock.

“In terms of reorganizing the conference, we will have to wait and see,” Hancock said. “We’ll have to wait for the dust to settle before making any decisions on how this will affect the CFP. The truth is, we don’t know yet. Nobody knows how the conference reorganization will play out, and it would be too early to make any decisions on that.”

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said his conference should know “fairly soon” whether SMU will join the ACC, and that the league has “contingency plans.”

“We are studying how we will deal with that,” he added. “We had a big meeting today with our ADs and our presidents this morning. … The issue will be resolved very quickly. I don’t think it can last much longer. None of this is really healthy when it drags on, but we have a great relationship with SMU.”

Aresco said Power 5 is “about the brand”.

He said, “When we heard that Stanford and Cal had nowhere to go, well, that’s not true, they had somewhere to go. They weren’t orphans. It’s the idea that there’s this despair now because of the P5 brand.” It’s based on a TV deal, but guys are willing to go for next to nothing because they feel they need that brand. We are seeing that now.”

Regardless of what happens with the realignment, Mid-American Conference Commissioner John Steinbrecher said moving forward, the principle of honoring conference champions must remain important.

“I think that’s the core principle of what we do and what we’ve built into this,” he said. “I think it’s important that that continues as we move forward. Depending on how many conferences we have, I think you can have legitimate conversations about the number of heroes that are set here, as well as the number of public groups,” but for me, you have to start with the basic principle and I think It’s important that we keep that out there. I was relieved after that conversation. I didn’t get into any kind of hand, I just felt good about that conversation.”

It was the first time Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkov had been in the same room with his peers since Oregon and Washington State decided to join USC and UCLA and leave the Big Ten, and Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado chose to join the Big Ten. . 12. Klyavkov has not spoken publicly since then and declined to comment on the realignment while pacing reporters in the conference room lobby of the DFW Grand Hyatt.

As he quickly walked away, Klyavkov smiled and said “it was good” to be in the room again with everyone and “it’s nice to focus on everything going forward.”

When asked about his future, Klyakov said, “I’m focused on this year. I’m only focused on winning the national championship.”

A meeting of the CFP Management Committee was previously scheduled for Wednesday to delve into the nitty gritty associated with expanding the stadium to 12 teams in time for next season. While the recent conference reorganization clearly added another level to the discussions, the focus remained on logistics. The group decided to continue offering each of the 125 players’ families a stipend of $3,000 to travel to all games in the playoffs. They are also applying with a company to help manage housing across campuses for the first round matches.

“This meeting has been slated for months because all of us know that to go to 12 teams by 24, we have a lot of work to do,” said Greg Sankey, the SEC’s commissioner, who moderated the meeting. “That’s what we did…. Did we talk about things that had changed around us? Sure. Did that dominate the meeting? I don’t think it was. Everyone was friendly. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a conference on changes.”

Although starting the season in week zero has been a topic of discussion in the past, it hasn’t garnered much attention yet, nor was it discussed here on Wednesday. But after recently returning from Dublin, Ireland, where Notre Dame started the season against Navy in week zero, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has been vocal in his support for the idea of ​​it in the future, saying he believes week zero “is really ‘good for the sport'”.

“I understand the difficulties, but at least it always leads to a bye year, and that’s good for the health of the student-athletes,” Swarbrick said. “Right now, we get two byes every seven years, just like in the calendar… If you’re in the locker room, and you see what it’s like in Game 9, Game 10, a second bye is that helpful.”

The CFP Management Committee will meet again in September at Big Ten headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, and hopes to have more answers about the realignment by then.

“I think we have to have some clarity, and we don’t have complete clarity at the moment,” Sankey said. “…I want to see what the conditions are at some point.”

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