Brett McMurphy, formerly of ESPN before ESPN fired most of their good writers, announced on twitter earlier that the PAC 12 and the Big 12 will be advocating for an 8 team playoff.
Pac-12 & Big 12 have recommended @CFBPlayoff expands to 8 teams this year, including each Power 5 champion— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 28, 2017
Now I seriously doubt that it would happen this season, but the potential is there. If both of those conferences are on board, then there is chance that both the SEC and B1G might agree. Right now, both conference have solid arguments for two teams. Nothing motivates the power 5 conferences quite like the potential to make money.
What does this mean for the MAC? This season, not much. I don’t see a one loss Toledo sniffing the top 8, even if they win out. However, a couple times each decade, a MAC team goes on a magical run. That probably wouldn’t be enough, either.
We saw last season when an undefeated Western Michigan only climbed as high as 15 in the playoff rankings. Maybe a signature win against a P5 team would help, which WMU lacked last season. Using this year’s Toledo squad as the example, if they would have beaten Miami, they would most likely be sitting somewhere around 20 in the polls. In the first playoff rankings due out Tuesday, it’s possible they wouldn’t even have cracked the top 25. So even with a magical run and signature win, I don’t think it would happen.
When I first saw the tweet, my heart leaped. Then I remembered the absolute disrespect the committee gives the group of 5 and I was brought back to reality. 3 G5 teams were ranked in the latest AP poll. South Florida lost to Houston today. Memphis already had a loss to Central Florida. Central Florida doesn’t have a signature win against a P5 team, but they have won every game so far by double digits. My guess is that no G5 team will be in the top 25 committee rankings.
The reason is obvious and there is no impetus for chance. Earlier today, I was listening to the halftime show on the radio of 97.1 the fan. They cover Ohio State games in Columbus. They were talking to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who was discussing his role with the committee. He talked of watching football for 3 and a half to 4 hours tomorrow. There is almost zero chance he’ll take the time to watch Central Florida. Neither will any of the other committee members. Not cool. And they know what they are doing. He was very coy about how many games he actually watched in that time frame.
If the playoff expands to 8 teams, the group of 5 needs to be united and demand a place at the table. It doesn’t have to be every season. In fact, I would argue there are plenty of seasons they don’t deserve a place at the table. However, they need a legitimate voice for when they deserve a spot. If they wait until everything falls into place for a magical team, it will be too late.