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SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on CFP Expansion: 'We're Fine With Four'

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey gave his take on College Football Playoff expansion, the opinion essentially embodying the divide within the committee.

"We’re fine with four,” Sankey said on the Paul Finebaum Show. “I've said that to you any number of times. But I have a responsibility to work with colleagues. We identified a format that can find the balance of conference champion access and the best teams. Twelve does add games but you cannot expand the playoffs without adding games." 

Sankey, Bob Bowlsby (Big 12 commissioner), Craig Thompson (Mountain West commissioner) and Jack Swarbrick (Notre Dame athletic director) proposed the 12-team playoff model in June, which would guarantee spots to the six highest-ranked conference champions as well as at-large bids to the next six highest-ranked teams. 

"We bring in regions of the country that don't have access," Sankey said Friday about the expansion. 

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Since then, the committee has continued to deliberate it, delaying its decision again on Wednesday. The main obstacle still exists: there is no unanimous consensus on a specific format. Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reported that they continued to argue over the number of teams (eight vs. 12) as well as the role of automatic qualifiers (no AQs vs. some AQs vs. AQs for Power 5 champions).

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren did not hold back when he gave his opinion on automatic qualifiers for playoff expansion, telling College Sports on SiriusXM that he's "a big believer that there should be automatic qualifiers for the power five conferences." However, Sankey says he "questions the wisdom" of automatic bids for conference champions. 

Given the extent of deliberation, people wonder whether or not there have been conversations of abandoning the idea all together. A source told Dellenger "there was a sense of shutting down talks" on Wednesday.

Bowlsby told SiriusXM, "I think there were some in the room perhaps that were ready to say ‘Let’s just leave it at four and move on.’”

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