Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

AAC commish ‘vigorously’ opposed to P5 protection in College Football Playoff | Ap

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said Friday he would be “vigorously” opposed to a college football playoff expansion model that “protects” power five leagues with auto-access only for their champions plus one.

“I don’t want to see a system that rewards privilege for privilege’s sake,” said Aresco.

The CFP Administrative Committee, made up of 10 Bowl Subdivision Conference Commissioners and the Sporting Director of Notre Dame, met last week in Dallas to discuss expanding the playoff from its current four-team field. The group needs to reach unanimous consensus on a new format before expansion can move forward. Although even a deviator can hold up the process, Aresco is confident that he is not alone.

A 12-team model was proposed over the summer that includes six guaranteed seats for the highest-ranking FBS conference champions and six at-large selections, with no limit on the number of teams a conference can have in the field.

Aresco confirmed a report from Sports Illustrated that an alternative model was discussed last week that would only include champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference, and only the highest-ranking champion of the so-called Group-of- Five conferences.

Aresco is a vocal proponent of expansion while pushing back the P5 / G5 designation for years. He said the current CFP model doesn’t give teams from outside the Power Five a fair chance of reaching the field.

“This branding is very harmful to us,” said Aresco. “It’s like we’re in a different league.”

A school in the Group of Five has never been close to the last four in the eight-year history of the college football playoffs.

Cincinnati of the American is currently fifth in the CFP rankings, the best performance for a Group of Five team ever.Aresco said the guarantee of access only to the more affluent power five leagues in a new playoff format would maintain the “caste system”.

Expansion talks have slowed in recent months as some Commissioners have raised concerns about a 12-team model launched in June and suggested that the group reconsider the number of eight teams.

There are innumerable obstacles for eight that would make it nearly impossible to get the support you need. In the summer there was hope that the proposed 12-team model could be agreed and implemented by the 2024 season.

That might still be the case, but the clock is ticking. The next scheduled meeting with the Management Committee is on December 1st in Dallas. If the commissioners can at least agree on the number of teams in a new format, they can make a recommendation in early January to the university presidents and chancellors who form the control committee.

Presidential approval would set the course for expansion before the current 12-year contract with ESPN expires after the 2025 season. CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said if consensus cannot be reached by the end of the year, an expansion will likely be proposed and the current format will remain in place until the deal ends.

Aresco said he doubts there will be enough support for the so-called five-plus-one to move forward. He expects resistance from the other G5 commissioners as well as from the P5 members of the four-person working group that developed the 12-team model.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick and Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson spent two years developing the model that was unveiled this summer.

The group considered several ways to fill a field of 12 teams, including the five-plus-one idea that former Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott publicly pushed when the proposal was first published.

“If you are a deserving team, you shouldn’t have any concerns about being excluded from the playoffs,” said Gill at the time.

Aresco said it was “really worrying” on Friday that the five-plus-one was brought up again so late in the process by some leaders of the Power Five conference.

“It’s not our job to protect them,” he said.

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