This week the “Alliance” announced that among other things it intended to review the 12-team playoff plan to make sure they were maximizing the opportunity for other media partners beyond ESPN to bid on whatever playoff games that are available. This would likely delay a revised playoff system until 2026.
What is not said but rumored is that there is massive distrust and some who believe that the 12-team format would give the expanded SEC too much of an advantage or too much representation at the expense of the other conferences. Is this true, however?
Let’s start by looking at the first seven years of the current format. How many expanded SEC team would have been in the first seven years of the playoff under the current system? While it is not reasonable to assume that Oklahoma (and Texas if they had been in the top 4 which they weren’t) would maintain their exact record in the SEC, this is noting how good the expanded conference representatives were and what the potential would have been.
In short, the expanded SEC would have had twelve expanded SEC teams. This means the SEC would have had 43% of the CURRENT four team playoff slots. In 2017, three teams from the SEC would of made the current playoff model.
In June, SI applied the proposed 12-team playoff plan over that same seven-year period. (link) This was done with Oklahoma and Texas still in the Big 12.
With Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC, the proposed 12-team playoff would have laid out like this:
In this scenario 25 of the expanded SEC would have had slots in the 12-team playoff over the last seven years. This means the SEC would have had 30% of the proposed 12-team playoff slots.
The simple question to the alliance is are you sure you want to delay the 12-team playoff which will make all more money as early as 2023 to “punish” the SEC? Keeping the current system ensures the SEC dominates the playoff even more.
Yes, waiting until 2026 may mean the completive marketplace leads to a larger playoff deal. Perhaps, both could be done- an ESPN exclusive media coverage of the 12-team playoff in 2023-2025 under renegotiated terms with ESPN and then a competitive bid 12-team media package starting in 2026.
In short, if the Alliance wants to limit the dominance of the SEC on college football, it should NOT be delaying the 12-team playoff but pushing for it.