The expansion of the College Football Playoff is just one of the difficulties that the game will confront in the future.
As the college football season of 2021-22 draws to a close, it's probably time for a state of the union report. If we had to describe the report's nature, we'd use words like "hot mess," "confusing," "complicated," "rudderless," "slow acting," and a slew of other derogatory phrases.
To put it another way: The ACC commissioner, Jim Phillips, claims that his league's coaches are united in their opposition to the extension of the college football playoff from four to twelve teams, which has been on the table since June. What is the explanation for this? The status of college football is so bad that there isn't enough time to deal with expansion; there are far too many other issues to deal with.
As previously stated, this is the sport that took decades to discover the playoff system, and then its administrators pretended to design it. We'd be driving over dirt fields and cowpies if they'd been in charge when the car was conceived, while they shelved the concept of those whatchamacallits — roads. Nothing would get done if they were Congress... They're exactly like Congress, right?
Phillips stated, "There are valid worries about student-athlete welfare, the influence on academics, and the duration of the season."
The Pac-12, which, like the ACC, did not have a team qualify for the CFP this year, issued a statement last week firmly embracing any of six options to expand the playoff.
In a nutshell, this is college football: A jumble of fiefdoms that can't seem to agree on much. The NCAA is debating a new constitution that would decentralise collegiate sports governance. What exactly are they discussing? Since the NCAA delegated its responsibilities to conferences and multiple postseason football arrangements, college football has lacked a centralised regulating body (the CFP being the latest). Meanwhile, each conference is on its own, and no one is looking out for the larger good of the game.
The ACC is correct in its appraisal of college football: it's a shambles with numerous issues to address (but can't they multitask and fix the CFP at the same time?).
The pandemic, graduation, injuries, opt-outs, and the transfer portal have all contributed to an unsustainable situation. According to CBS, Dave Clawson, chairman of the Atlantic Coast Conference football coaches, some ACC schools are unsure if they will be allowed to hold spring football practise because of all of the above.
Athletes were given an extra year of eligibility during the 2020 "COVID-19" season to compensate for missing all or part of the previous season. However, it is not as straightforward as it appears, and the NCAA should have known this. Each year, the NCAA limits colleges to 25 new signees and a total of 85 scholarship players. With so many players returning for the COVID make-up season, how do coaches make it all work?
Coaches were given some leniency on the 85-scholarship restriction in 2022, but they must return to 85 before the 2023 season. When you factor in the difficulties of the transfer portal, ACC schools have lost an average of 10.4 players since the start of the 2020 season.
"Our rosters are getting thinner and thinner," Clawson said CBS, summarising the situation nicely. We have less power over them, and the NCAA isn't doing anything to help us. They've done an excellent job of releasing the outflow valve. They haven't assisted us with the inflow valve at all."
Meanwhile, the debate about CFP expansion continues. For nearly a century, the game has struggled to find a fair mechanism to determine a national champion, despite the fact that every other sport in the world has supplied workable models to follow.
Three of the Power Five conferences — the Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC — support CFP expansion, though the SEC has stated that it is fine with the current four-team format until the current contract expires in 2024 (and why wouldn't it be, given that the SEC has qualified a conference-high ten teams and won five of the eight championships?).
College football still has a long way to go in terms of getting its act together.