ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said Thursday he wants a “thorough assessment” of College Football Playoff expansion before making any decisions about the current four-team format.
During a conference call with reporters following the league’s virtual spring meetings, Phillips said he isn’t against expansion, but he doesn’t want to rush into making a decision, either. Last month, the CFP management committee was presented with possibilities for future expansion, including options that range from six to 16 teams. Still, CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN’s Heather Dinich any possible changes are not imminent.
Earlier Thursday, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff announced his conference is in favor of playoff expansion. With Phillips and Kliavkoff joining the mix, the Power 5 now has two new voices in the room for future discussions.
“Here is what I would say about expansion, and I’m not against it,” Phillips said. “I want to have the conversation, and I want to do it really thoughtfully. I don’t want to just rush into, ‘Yes, we have to expand.’ I want to know more, and I think others deserve to know more before we make a sizable decision. But what does that look like? How many more games is that? Is that one more game for two teams? What does that do from a student-athlete perspective? How does it affect our calendar academically? How does it affect our calendar with regular season? Are we playing too many games? If you count nonconference, conference and then into the CFP and or bowl system.
“The bowl system, it’s worth saving. That’s something we can’t turn a blind eye to — it’s not just four, six or eight or whatever the playoff would look like. It is about we have a responsibility to the greater good of college football, and those bowl experiences are really important to the campuses across the NCAA that play FBS football.”
The CFP is entering its eighth season of a 12-year contract. All parties involved must unanimously agree to change the contract before it expires. If there were to be expansion, Phillips said he would be in favor of conference champions being guaranteed a spot in the field. The ACC has had a team make the College Football Playoff every year since it began, starting with Florida State in the 2014 season. Clemson has made six straight playoff appearances.
But figuring out who deserves an automatic spot in an expanded field is too far down the road to make any decisions about it right now.
“I think we’ll get to the right place, but that’s not going to happen in the next six months,” Phillips said. “It’s going to take some time, and we need to do a thorough assessment before making any major decisions.”
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