There seemed to be a good amount of momentum behind the idea of the College Football Playoff expanding beyond the current four teams after SEC runner-up Georgia and the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions were all left on the outside of this year’s four-team affair.
There has always been plenty of chatter from media pundits about the idea, but this year, several collegiate decision-makers opined in favor of an eight-team playoff, most notably Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a story by The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach in December.
Monday, Mark Keenum, Mississippi State president and chairman of the College Football Playoff board of managers, put out a fairly strongly worded statement in opposition of the idea.
“As far as expanding the number of teams in the playoff, it’s way too soon – much too soon – to know if that is even a possibility,” Keenum wrote. “It’s fair to say the speculation about expansion has outdistanced the reality of what the commissioners and the presidents have discussed. If a decision were to be made down the road, the presidents would be the ones to make it and we are not there.”
Keenum did say that the idea will be open to discussion at some undetermined point in the future.
“At some point down the road, as part of our regular review of all matters pertaining to the playoff, the management committee will meet, and it will consider all aspects of the playoff, as it routinely does,” he said. “When that discussion happens, I advise observers not to read too much into it. We have a twelve-year contract we are very happy with. It is always appropriate to ask the right questions and to examine every issue to be sure we have things right. We are very satisfied with the playoff and look forward to its continued success.”
Obviously, the point of Keenum releasing this statement at this time, the morning before the final of this year’s playoff, is to step the tide of public opinion that seemed to consider an eight-team playoff an inevitability.
Why that is a desire of the playoff committee remains to be seen, but it does seem sure that fans that wanted an expanded playoff field aren’t likely to get it any time soon.