John Swofford, ACC Push For 8-Team CFB Playoff

ACC Commish John Swofford thinks an 8-team CFB Playoff would be ideal.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford, speaking at a Wednesday luncheon at the Durham (N.C.) Sports Club, said eight, “in terms of the number of teams, would probably be ideal” for a playoff, according to the Durham Herald-Sun.

“I don’t think all the controversy’s going to go away,” Swofford said of the four-team College Football Playoff, according to the newspaper. “You have four teams that get a chance to play for the national championship, which is twice as many as before, but whoever’s fifth or sixth is not going to be happy. There will be some conferences that won’t have a team in the playoff.”

Yes, wasn’t that always going to be a problem? 1, 2, or even 3 conferences could get shut out in a given year. If it happens to your conference a few times when you thought it wasn’t justified, the fans, the coaches, and the conference wouldn’t stand for it. Could you even imagine if the SEC didn’t get a playoff spot the outrage across the South and most of America??!?!?

“I expect an 8-team playoff increasingly to be a topic of conversation, but each FBS conference would want to take the temperature of its membership on something as significant as this,” American commissioner Mike Aresco told ESPN. “There are real concerns such as the academic calendar and the increased demands on our student-athletes. The details of an 8-team playoff also would be a major issue.”

The “major” issue is deciding which cities get to invest in this pot of gold and how much money the conferences get to collect from the new TV rights to it. So, in clearer terms, the major issue is counting their money.

Swofford continued on the student-athlete aspect of it saying, “The presidents made the decision as to how far we can go with the playoff, and the bookends are exams in December, and the presidents don’t want football to become a two-semester sport. Those concerns are education-based. So I think they’re appropriate.”

Wait, why is keeping football in one semester important? Doesn’t spring football happen in the spring? Doesn’t basketball start in the fall and end in the spring?

The incredible growth of the sport has come at the expense of the student in terms of time taken away from studies. They haven’t been concerned with it up to this point, so why start now?

5 power conferences. 5 spots in the playoff.  3 wild card spots. It’s still voting and still annoying some folks, but it’s the most reasonable future path to take. I’m okay with a 3-loss team winning the title, I really am.  Or a 4-loss team.  We have 6-seeds winning the Super Bowl and a 7-seed just won the NCAA tournament in basketball. People love playoffs, they watch them, and TV makes more money off of them. It all would make access easier for a great non-power 5 team to play for a title, not just get to play a power school in a bowl game.

On a side note, I’ve said previously that if conference realignment rears it’s ugly head again and we get to 4 power conferences, then an 8-game playoff would be easy to do.  You could simply use the conference title games as the quarterfinals leading up to the final four. You wouldn’t need anyone voting on anything. And I’d hope at that point divisions are eliminated and conferences would simply play their title game between the best two teams.

I’d guess we are stuck with the current set-up for this year and at least two more. Why? Because the 6 major bowls involved in the semi-final rotation need to go through their full schedule of hosting responsibilities.  After that, game on.