COLUMBUS, Ohio – Walking shoulder to shoulder, each dressed in their Sunday best, the two Commissioners quickly walked the Ohio State Press Gallery as if joined at the hip.
In a way, they are. George Kliavkoff, the new leader of the Pac-12, and Kevin Warren, leader of the Big Ten, have sparked a wave of changes in college football in recent weeks. They helped found the Alliance, led a movement to halt the expansion of college football playoffs, and formed a pact, with the ACC, to collectively agree not to poach each other’s members.
On Saturday, the two were on a two-game road trip, first here at the Oregon game at Ohio State and then in Washington, Michigan.
Kliavkoff’s team won the two-game swing first leg (Oregon defeated Ohio State, 35-28); Warren won the second (Michigan whipped Washington, 31-10).
Forget the results for a second. The game in Columbus – a non-conference clash between two defending champions and the top 15 clubs – is a good example of what will happen in the future, the two commissioners said.
As part of the Alliance deal, all three conferences (Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC) plan to schedule football matches against each other in the coming years. They expect each of their teams to play two games, home and away, each season against teams from the other two conferences.
Ideally, that means the Big Ten and Pac-12 are reducing their championship games from nine to eight (the ACC is already playing eight). It offers teams four non-conference game openings: two Alliance clashes and two against the lower level of college football.
Alliance matches will be evenly spread throughout the season, giving America what Kliavkoff calls a “trifecta” of Alliance clashes each week – at least three each Saturday. And these games won’t just be scheduled years in advance. They could be organized eight months before the meetings.
Imagine it: League officials schedule the ACC 2023 champion against the 2023 Big Ten champion in a season opener 2024. Or how about the Big Ten team in last place with the Pac-12 team in last place of the previous season? At least we can figure out who’s the best downstairs dweller!
Maybe we’ll have some playoff revenge next year. This year, for example, could we have seen Clemson meet with Ohio State on one of the school’s campuses? It’s possible, says Kliavkoff. And those Alliance matches are expected to run from Week 1 to the very last week of the season. Yes, non-conference clashes will end the year. Imagine the undefeated USC traveling across the country to play at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and end a season with some serious playoff spots.
Ah, the theater!
However, there are a few hurdles. First, several Alliance conference administrators have said they have no plans to cancel existing non-conference games previously scheduled with the Big 12 and the SEC. Second, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, as mentioned, need to go from nine to eight league games, which the conferences are exploring. And there is something else. The ACC hosts four annual rivalry games with traditionally steeped SEC teams: Louisville-Kentucky, Florida-State of Florida, Clemson-South Carolina and Georgia-Georgia Tech.
The games already scheduled and the rivalry series with the Big 12 and the SEC will be preserved. Teams with such games would only be required to play one Alliance match per year. For example, given that it faces Georgia every season, Georgia Tech would have an Alliance game every season. If he wanted, he could schedule two, giving the Yellowjackets three non-conference games against the Power 5 schedules, which is normally avoided.
“It would be at school,” Kliavkoff says.
The Alliance is not just about programming. All three leagues appear determined to further explore, not immediately endorse, the 12-team playoff extension model released earlier this summer. For a wide range of issues, CFP executives are expected to at least temporarily suspend all approvals of the model at meetings later this month in Dallas.
Some believe any expansion would have to wait until the playoff contract with ESPN expires after the 2025 season, a way to provide opportunities for media models other than ESPN to bid on the most lucrative package in the history of the game. university sport.
The conference realignment threw a proverbial wrench into this whole affair, sparked by the passage of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. Both Kliavkoff and Warren have expressed relief that the Big 12 is settled with its four new members. They expect the Power 5 realignment to be complete now. What does it mean ?
“We can move forward with the playoff discussion,” Kliavkoff said.
There are other issues with the 12-team model that go beyond a media partner. This includes bowls and their role in expansion. In the 12-team proposal, the bowls host the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but the first round is held on campus. Some college officials believe bowls should host first-round matches as well. Others, believing that a 12-team model prolongs the season too much, are more in favor of an eight-team model.
The Rose Bowl and its position are also a sticking point. The Rose not only plays its game on a traditional date and time each year (2 p.m. PT on Jan. 1), but also has a lucrative contract with the Pac-12 and the Big Ten which, while making a playoff, is separate. The bowl, and maybe the conferences too, want it to be so.
While expansion of the CFP may take years, the Alliance’s planning component is not, according to the commissioners. Next year? May be.
Already, there are a lot of matches between Alliance teams that have already been played or are scheduled for years to come. There are even several this week: Michigan State is in Miami, Nebraska is in Oklahoma, Minnesota is in Colorado and Northwestern is in Duke.
So far this year there have been four games between Alliance teams. The ACC won their only game and the Big Ten won two of the three meetings with the Pac-12 teams.
However, it was Kliavkoff’s team that took the jackpot when the Ducks buried the Buckeyes. In fact, as he marched onto the field from the press box on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, the commissioner glanced at reporters and joked a message.
“Do you like the Alliance, guys?” “
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