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College Football Playoff expansion or not, the SEC will be just fine: Greg Sankey

College Football Playoff expansion is officially off the table until at least the 2026 season, but that won't have any effect on the SEC one way or another.

That, according to conference commissioner Greg Sankey, who says his league will adapt and survive whether the playoff stays at four or expands to six, eight, or 12 teams.

"I was sitting there watching the national championship, and they just thought I wasn't serious when I said we can leave it at four," Sankey said in a media availability.

"People apparently didn't take me seriously. I don't think people heard me when I said we are fine with it staying at four.

"We can stay at four. This conference will thrive at four, period. That's not healthy for the rest of college football, but we can stay at four."

SEC has dominated the national title race

The SEC has won 12 of the last 16 national championships, dating back to the BCS and last season saw two of its teams, Alabama and Georgia, playing for the title.

Since the current College Football Playoff began, the SEC leads with 10 overall appearances, 14 wins, and five national championships.

Three different SEC programs have won the CFP: Alabama (3), Georgia (1), and LSU (1).

College Football Playoff expansion

For most of last season, it appeared expansion was inevitable. But when Texas and Oklahoma announced they were leaving for the SEC, the other major conferences pressed pause and brought new demands to the negotiating table.

The original argument was that too few teams were qualifying for the four team semifinal and that the games were not entertaining. Winning teams won their games by an average of 21.5 points per game.

The move to expand — which requires a unanimous vote — was put down by an 8-3 margin, with the Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC voting against the expansion proposal.

Why did the vote fail? There are several reported reasons, including

  • inability to accommodate the Pac-12 relationship with the Rose Bowl, which wants to maintain its traditional Jan. 1 date and media rights,
  • protracted disagreements over distribution of future revenue
  • disputes over whether Power 5 conference champions should get automatic bids to an expanded playoff — the Big Ten is in favor, while the others are not

Wherever it goes, or doesn't go, however one thing remains clear: the SEC will be fine.


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