If you’re a big college football fan, this time of year can be restless for you.
You have to wait over a month for the much-anticipated College Football Playoff and other New Year’s Six Bowls not to mention the one you’re team is in (assuming that you’re team made it to a bowl game and has yet to play).
So while you’re waiting for the new years season to come around, allow me to provide something to hold you over for however long you have to wait for by giving you some of my predictions for the not-so-distant future.
The year is 2025 and the College Football Playoff’s contract is set to expire soon. Many other TV contracts involving the Power 5 conferences are in their waning years as well. This will be a very interesting time in college football that will involve the following changes.
The Playoff will expand to eight teams.
As great as the new four-team system is and despite the number of people who want it to stay, expansion of the system is inevitable. However, this is as far as expansion will go not because of money, but because of the effects on the field.
In this system, baring any changes, whichever team makes the national championship will have played 16 total games, as much as NFL players play in the regular season. That worked alone is very heavy and pushing players any further is simply too dangerous. However, if further expansion is ever necessary, the regular season will have to become shorter. Most other NCAA teams in Divisions II an III as well as the FCS who make the championship play about 15 games a year, so that’s pushing the envelope in itself.
This playoff will also throw away the need for a separate ranking from the AP and Coaches polls. However, a more-balanced selection committee will remain with ex-players mixed in in order to better evaluate a team’s body of work.
The bowl system will be reduced.
Having eight teams in the playoff will mean that less talented teams make bowl games. It’s already bad enough that six teams who would normally be considered ineligible under current standards were let into bowl games because there were so many spots to fill. The New Years Six bowls will not be affected by this, but many of the lesser bowls will have to foreclose. This may be further impacted by an even bigger change that could be ahead…
Nothing has really happened since the big realignment mini-saga a couple of years ago. However, I believe an even bigger one is on its way.
There has been talk about how, one day, the Power 5 will separate from the rest of the FBS and create their own league. Additionally, people think this will become a Power 4 filled with 16-team super-conferences. I think this will happen and it will come at the expense of the Big 12.
The Big 12 just hasn’t been the same since it lost all those members in that big realignment period. You can blame it on conference administrators for not being able to get a TV deal in place. You can blame it on Texas for repelling members away with the Longhorn Network. Whoever you can manage to point fingers at, it doesn’t look like they can get anything done in time for what’s coming.
As for the other conferences, they’ll look to add the following members from around the FBS and from the Big 12
ACC: West Virginia and Notre Dame
It seems to make the most sense for the ACC to go after these two teams. Notre Dame is already a member in pretty much every other sport and they’ll need a chance to play in a championship game to boost their resume if they ever get so far. West Virginia is also closest to other member institutions. Not only that, but they could also bring back the Backyard Brawl with current-conference member Pittsburgh.
SEC: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Just when you thought the SEC couldn’t get any scarier. These teams would allow the conference to expand further into the southwest while adding very high-quality teams on the field. The two teams could also continue their coveted Bedlam Series. However, some divisional realignment would be necessary to make room for them.
PAC-16*: Boise State, BYU, Texas and TCU
Boise State and BYU have been arguably two of the most consistently productive programs in the Group of 5 conferences over the last several years. Adding the two would allow the PAC-12 to continue dominating the western states and add some good teams on the field.
Texas and TCU would be HUGE for whatever conference can lure them in. Even though the argument can be made that Texas is bringing down the Big 12 and has a shaky football administration, there’s no denying the program’s value along with that of TCU.
Being able to have a stake in the state of Texas in two of it’s biggest cities would be the equivalent of the jackpot and I think the PAC-12 would have the advantage because of how they match up with members of that conference.
Big Ten: Kansas and Kansas State
When I first started writing this article, I thought for sure that the Big Ten would go after Texas Tech and Baylor in this scenario. However, with the sexual assault case at Baylor getting uglier and serious punishments becoming more realistic *cough* death penalty *cough*, they become a tougher candidate for the Big Ten in this scenario and given that they and Texas Tech as bitter rivals would hate to be separated, it would be better off if the conference went after the two Kansas schools.
As for the other teams and conferences, they will merge with what is currently known as the FCS where they can decide whether or not to take part in that league’s playoffs.
Taken, all of this is a very long way away and some of it/all of it may not even happen, but I’d keep an eye out for how things like these develop over the next few years.