Many people contend that the SEC/BIG will ultimately fully breakaway from all the other conferences and have their own playoff. I disagree for a couple reasons:
- Where will the wins for all the BIG/SEC teams come from? Think Texas fans will be cool going against all SEC/BIG teams and going 7-5 every year or Indiana fans will be cool going 2-10 every year?
- In the NFL when your team stinks the fan base can look forward to a high draft pick or spending a ton of $ in free agency to bridge their emotion/hope to the next season. SEC/BIG would have no such mechanisms to appease their fans.
- Leaving several dozen “P5” teams behind WILL result in multiple lawsuits and likely congressional involvement - it would get ugly. This is definitely not the path of least resistance for BIG/SEC.
- Lastly, how many fan bases would vow to never watch an SEC/BIG game if this would happen? Good luck getting basically anyone west of Texas to watch any of that. Unless a top USC team was in it LA could care less even though USC/UCLA would be in the BIG - all your major markets west of Texas - gonzo - no Denver, Phoenix, Portland, LA, SF, Seattle, SLC, etc… I see no way it improves their viewership and mass appeal. It would be terrible for business IMO.
What I do see happening is a “soft” breakaway where they are clearly set apart in power and $ but not officially broken away. In this position they can always use the threat of full breakaway to get whatever they want and tweak the system in their favor. Think the way Texas acted in the Big 12.
I see the playoff going to 12 teams. BIG and SEC will go to 4 (or 5 if they keep expanding) team pods and each pod will get a playoff team. They’ll play pod teams towards the end of the year like NFL does so tons of games will matter late in the year in the BIG and SEC as teams try to win their pod and try for one of the 4 byes in the opening round. This is similar to NFL where most games towards the end of the year are meaningful. So there’s 8 teams there just from BIG/SEC. Big 12, ACC, PAC winners get a spot, then 1 for highest ranked remaining team.
Pods will break down something to the effect of what I have below so that each pod has at least 1-2 decent football teams. A 5th team can be easily added to any of the pods with no need to tweak the playoff format if that team is lucrative enough to increase the BIG or SEC TV pies.
Feeders to Playoff:
- SEC Pod 1 winner: Alabama, TAMU, Ole Miss, Miss State
- SEC Pod 2 winner: OU, Texas, Arkansas, Mizzou
- SEC Pod 3 winner: Georgia, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina
- SEC Pod 4 winner: LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
- BIG Pod 1 winner: Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue
- BIG Pod 2 winner: USC, UCLA, Illinois, Northwestern
- BIG Pod 3 winner: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana
- BIG Pod 4 winner: Penn State, Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland
- Big 12 winner
- ACC Winner
- PAC Winner
- Highest ranked at large