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How the B1G/SEC can force their own conference realignment endgame
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Joeshmo711 Offline
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How the B1G/SEC can force their own conference realignment endgame
Greg Sankey and Kevin Warren walk into the CFP committee meeting with a radical idea for how to determine a conference champion. An idea that has the ability to alter the college football landscape more than anything before it. They announce that since their leagues now sit at 16, they will start holding a four team playoff in 2026 to determine their conference champion. Because these conference champions must go through a rigorous conference playoff, they will be awarded byes in…a new SIX team playoff! A spot will be reserved for the highest ranked conference champion that is not in the B1G/SEC while the other 3 spots will be at-large bids determined by the highest ranking schools (after conference tournaments). Sankey and Warren then slyly look over to one another before saying, “if you don’t accept this, we could always start our own B1G/SEC playoff…”

The room is silent…the other conference commissioners start contemplating their spot within this new structure and what they need to do to survive. If they were to accept this new arrangement, they would essentially agree to three conferences and everyone else. If they don’t accept it, they need to determine what the B1G/SEC could do to render them irrelevant? This proposal is unquestionably targeted toward Sankey and Warren achieving their goals, but it’s far from unreasonable. This idea essentially gives the schools that aren’t invited to the “main” table the chance to find their lifeboat with the third conference and still be guaranteed a spot at the party. If college football were to accept the B1G/SEC terms, insanity would ensue…


The Reaction

B1G/SEC
They keep printing money by selling their conference playoff rights off to FOX/ESPN. These conference playoff games in effect become “Round of 16” and “Quarterfinal” matchups for the CFP. Any school that doesn’t get crowned conference champion still has the ability to get in with an at-large bid afterward. The SEC would all but be guaranteed a second (and possibly third) bid while the B1G could get two spots fairly regularly in the six team playoff.

ACC/B12/PAC
This would be the $&#@ show of all $&#@ shows. It would all start with the B12 and PAC winking at each other. This would completely blow up the ACC’s GOR…Clemson, FSU, Miami, and UNC state their intentions to join the SEC and ND, Stanford, UO, and UW for the B1G while the rest of the ACC declares they’re “Open for Business!” If you do the math, the ACC, B12, and PAC are taking on water and there’s only a single life raft (that seats 20-24)…it all means between 5 and 9 schools are getting left out. The ACC/B12/PAC mold into some sort of third megaconference that will provide the biggest storylines of realignment…Who joins/merges with who? Can we add this team? Can we trim these teams?...Who gets left out?!? This third megaconference has the ability to create their own conference finals and guarantee their champion will be one of the six participants. This NEW conference will have a fair amount of leverage negotiating their next media rights deal and utilize their conference playoffs to close the gap between the B1G/SEC.

Notre Dame
I don’t see this being an extremely hard decision if others accept this model. ND could somewhat consistently make the playoffs as an at-large independent, but their ability to make the playoffs and positioning within them would get a huge boost in the B1G. This factor along with the new conference playoff money could finally be what pushes ND over the edge to join a conference.


The Aftermath

We get three megaconferences. The B1G (plus ND, Stan, UO, UW) and SEC (plus Clemson, FSU, Miami, UNC) have the strongest positions within the new CFP, but the NEW megaconference can claim their only “a game” behind them. All three conferences will be able to capitalize off this new model by holding their own portion of the CFP in house. This admittedly won’t bridge the gap the B1G/SEC has on everyone else, but it provides the blue print for all the schools that are on the outside looking in a chance to reassemble into this third megaconference that provides them with the financial resources and content to keep them anything but irrelevant during the next stage of the CFP.

Personally, I think this would be a fun way to spend the next decade determining a national champion, but I’m not a fan of a school that would be left out in the cold (although I’d like to see ISU included)…I’m just a B1G fan looking for preferential treatment. For anyone who read this whole thing, I appreciate your time and curious to know your thoughts are on this whole thing.

The New CFP Bracket - https://imgur.com/a/VnARtrH
08-05-2022 11:02 AM
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Soobahk40050 Offline
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RE: How the B1G/SEC can force their own conference realignment endgame
The issue: A 3+3 system isn't as lucrative to the SEC/Big 10 as the original 6+6 system.

In the Week 15 (pre playoff) rankings from 2021, a 3+3 would put Alabama and Michigan with the byes, Cincy with 3rd slot, and then Georgia/ND/Ohio State. In essence, the SEC gets 2 slots, Big 10 gets 2 and then ND/Cincy.

In a 6+6, the champs are Alabama/Michigan/Cincy/Baylor/Utah/Pitt. The 6 at large are ND/Ohio State/Miss/OK St/Michigan St/BYU

So the Big 10 gets Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State (3), the SEC gets Alabama/Georgia/Ole Miss (3) and then there are 6 other spots.

So they each get one more playoff team.
08-05-2022 12:37 PM
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micahandme Offline
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Post: #3
RE: How the B1G/SEC can force their own conference realignment endgame
Joeschmo is right.

The 12-team playoff that was proposed (or suppose a larger 16-team playoff) was a "to the winner goes the spoils system." The SEC liked its chances...but the money was never guaranteed. If the Big Ten and SEC have their own 4-team conference champ and then send those winners to a SMALLER playoff field, they ABSOLUTELY control the money for what is essentially the first and second round of the playoff.

Remember, the expansion wave in 2010 was all about having a conference championship game because that was guaranteed big money for conferences. The TV networks ate up those games like candy.

The sticky parts for Joeschmo's plan is the anti-trust stuff. I think they could simply propose a 6-team playoff where the top 3 conference champs get auto-bids...and then 3 at-large. The winner of two playoff games out of the Big Ten or SEC (after a 4-team conference playoff) will 99% likely be one of the top 3 conference champs in the country. And if not, there's a 99% probability that they'll be among the 3 at-large teams.

The 6-team playoff would make less than the 12-team playoff...but again, the "quarterfinal rounds" are actually OWNED by the Big Ten and SEC in this scenario.
08-05-2022 01:42 PM
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Joeshmo711 Offline
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RE: How the B1G/SEC can force their own conference realignment endgame
(08-05-2022 12:37 PM)Soobahk40050 Wrote:  The issue: A 3+3 system isn't as lucrative to the SEC/Big 10 as the original 6+6 system.

In the Week 15 (pre playoff) rankings from 2021, a 3+3 would put Alabama and Michigan with the byes, Cincy with 3rd slot, and then Georgia/ND/Ohio State. In essence, the SEC gets 2 slots, Big 10 gets 2 and then ND/Cincy.

In a 6+6, the champs are Alabama/Michigan/Cincy/Baylor/Utah/Pitt. The 6 at large are ND/Ohio State/Miss/OK St/Michigan St/BYU

So the Big 10 gets Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State (3), the SEC gets Alabama/Georgia/Ole Miss (3) and then there are 6 other spots.

So they each get one more playoff team.

Six spots DOES mean less playoff teams, but you’re discrediting the additional conference playoffs that serve as de facto playoff games. Any B1G/SEC conference playoff participant can win their next four games and declare themselves national champion…if it looks, walks, and talks like a duck, it probably is a duck. When you look at it through that lens, I feel like the argument for the B1G/SEC adopting this model gets clearer:

In 2021, you can say that Michigan, OSU, Michigan St, Iowa along with Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Kentucky all “make” the playoffs…Georgia could still lose the SEC Championship (Quarterfinal) and come back to win the national championship as an at-large, OSU could sneak in as another at-large. Each conference comes out with three EXCLUSIVE BIG MONEY GAMES (2 Round of 16, 1 Quarterfinal) and still have 2 schools in the final field of 6…and that’s probably worst case scenario for the SEC.

From a lucrative standpoint, I believe the B1G/SEC’s ability to guarantee representation in those conference playoff games (de facto CFP extensions) creates an enormous windfall when their media partners come to the negotiating table. From a fan prospective, I would have been thrilled for my 10-2 Iowa Hawkeyes to be in a situation where they could win four games and be national champs…until about halfway through the first quarter...of our first game…against Michigan…42-3
08-05-2022 05:25 PM
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