CFP To Expand To 12 Teams in 2024: 5 Things To Consider




 

The powers that be have announced that the College Football Playoff (CFP) will indeed expand to a 12-team format beginning in 2024. To say that this is a seismic change to the sport we all know and love would be an understatement. This isn't your grandfather's version of college football, that much is certain.

What do we make of this shift as it relates to Notre Dame? Does this help or hurt them in pursuit of their first championship since 1988? There are opinions on all sides and angles of this issue. Let's explore some of the most interesting parts of this new setup as it pertains to the Irish.

Access

 

Nov. 19, 2022; South Bend, Indiana;Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Audric Estime (7) celebrates after a second quarter touchdown against the Boston College Eagles at Notre Dame Stadium. Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

In a 12-team playoff setup, there is no doubt that all teams, including the Irish, have a better chance of making the tournament in any given year compared to the previous 2-team BCS format and current 4-team CFP format.

Conversely, once in the playoff, it is much harder to actually win a championship because teams will have to win 3 games in a row and in Notre Dame's case, 4 in a row since the Irish are ineligible for a first-round bye due to lack of a conference title game. This is a double-edged sword. Easier access but a harder path once it's gained.

Regular Season Devalued?

 

Oct 8, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Audric Estime (7) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the BYU Cougars at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most common complaints raised by those opposed to playoff expansion is that it will water down the regular season and those games will practically mean less than they currently do. It's hard for me to argue against this way of thinking when it comes to Notre Dame.

Currently, to ensure making the CFP Notre Dame has to go 12-0. Be perfect, no margin for error. Under a 12-team format, based on history a 10-2 Notre Dame team would be very much in the mix for a spot in the field yearly. Essentially, Notre Dame could lose its 2 most marque games on the schedule and still have a chance at a championship. That's a lot of breathing room that Irish fans are not used to.

ND's Independence

 

Oct 21, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick (left) quarterback Brandon Wimbush (7) and offensive lineman Sam Mustipher (53) sing the Notre Dame Alma Mater after Notre Dame defeated the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Marque brand name programs like Oklahoma, USC, and Texas are changing conferences, conferences are changing TV deals, and NCAA rules are shifting fast. There's a lot going on. College Football has never seen a string of changes this drastic all at once.

Does the aforementioned win-loss record flexibility make Notre Dame feel as though staying independent gives them the best competitive chance at winning a championship in this new format? What is the long-term viability of the Notre Dame TV deal in comparison to revenue shares of those in conferences full-time?

Scheduling Quirks

 

Sep 24, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Drew Pyne (10) runs with the ball in the second quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The way this new CFP is set up, those who love college football are in for a treat in the form of an extra month of ultra-compelling win-or-go-home games in the dead of winter.

I for one cannot wait for the Irish to welcome a native southern team in late December to 20-degree blustery northern Indiana weather. The only issue? How many students be at the game since they will be on holiday break and most Notre Dame students did not grow up nearby and face heavy travel? Wild to consider.

Money Talks

 

Nov 5, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Logan Diggs (3) runs the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Let's face it. We all live in reality here. Expanding the playoff was about one thing more than anything else. Money. More games equal more ticket sales, more advertising, and more TV revenue. Everyone involved fattens their pockets.

I do want to mention what isn't often discussed. How this affects 1st-semester finals weeks for these alleged " student-athletes?" Or how might play in 4 more games per year impact players' health over this physical grind? I know I'm old-fashioned, but these are things I do still think about.

For more Irish news & notes follow John on Twitter @alwaysirishINCAlways Irish on Youtube or your preferred audio podcast provider.

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire

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