Bowl organization wants all expanded college football playoff games to be held at bowl venues
The non-profit Bowl Season which represents all 43 playoff bowl games has asked the College Football Playoff that all games in an expanded playoff be played entirely in the bowl system. In addition, the organization has requested a seat at the table for further discussions on the PA.
In a letter dated Monday obtained by CBS Sports which was sent to the 130 presidents, athletic directors, coaches and 10 commissioners of FBS, the organization said:
“An expanded playoff should include all playoff games played in the traditional Bowl structure, not the home site of any of the participating teams. The Bowls would provide a neutral and competitive setting for those games, as they have it. done throughout their history. “
As currently proposed, a 12-team playoff would consist of four first-round games for eight teams at campus venues. The next two rounds of the quarterfinals and finals would be played at bowl venues. These sites would presumably be the current six New Year’s bowls – Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach, and Rose – although the specific sites have yet to be officially determined.
The letter is signed by Bowl Season Executive Director Nick Carparelli and President Mark Neville, Holiday Bowl Executive Director. The 43 sets of boules are listed.
“Excluding Bowl games from any round of an extended playoff series would be detrimental to the bowl season, individual bowls and their host communities, and post-season college football in general,” the letter said. “The future direction of college football has reached an unstable point. As the leader and guardian of college athletics, we appreciate your consideration of the key role the Bowls play in your college experience.”
Bowl Season went on to “respectfully request to be included in the deliberative process over the future of college football.”
There were no immediate details of how the Bowl Season reps wanted to be included in the process. CFP executive director Bill Hancock did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The expansion process has been fractured as PCP leaders prepare to meet Wednesday and Thursday in Irving, Texas for the next round of talks. There has been a setback as to whether the current four-team field will expand to eight or 12 or not at all. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who is part of a four-person subcommittee tasked with making the 12-team proposal, said he agreed with the four-team pitch if a decision to expansion could not be taken.
Questions have already been raised about these first-round matches on campus due to potentially missed final exams and “winterization” issues, setting a campus stadium for the freezing temperatures of December. There is also a situation where a team playing a first round game could end up on the field for a record 17 games in one season if they reach the CFP National Championship.
Hancock recently told the Associated press that a new playoff structure could begin as early as the 2024 season if the expansion is finalized. Otherwise, the current contract will likely be honored throughout the 2025 season with the expanded playoffs starting in 2026.
More of the divisive discussion is how to assess an extended playoff. Several stakeholders want the current contract to expire in an effort to maximize the value of a new, expanded playoff series with multiple bidders taking part in television rights.
Bowl officials have complained about the impact of the Championship playoffs since the BCS was formed in 1998. Alabama coach Nick Saban has argued in the past that the playoff-driven season has been detrimental to the regular season and other traditional bowl games.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby spoke about how an expanded playoffs would improve the regular season.
“It’s going to be pretty good for regular season television,” Bowlsby told CBS Sports. “It’s going to be very good for regular season attendance. This time of year, week 7 or 8, there will be 40 teams that will have a legitimate rooting opportunity to be there. In 3-4 weeks there are still going to be 20-25 teams. [saying] ‘Who’s in’ and there are 4 or 5 teams that stand a chance. “