Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM SEPT. 17, 2022 13 UNDER THE DOME Welcome To Welcome To 902 North St. Peter Street — South Bend, IN 46617 A stately Georgian style brick home, 4 blocks to Notre Dame $1,350,000 Presented By Pam Dunfee Associate Broker Cell: (574) 210-3536 Office: (574) 277-7444 Email: SEE THE HOUSE Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick will get what he has wanted for more than a year after all. The College Football Playoff is officially set to expand to 12 teams. The Board of Managers, comprised of the 10 conference commissioners plus Swarbrick, unani- mously voted Sept. 2 to expand the playoff from its current format consisting of four participants to a format with 12. Pete Thamel of ESPN reported the new model is expected to be enacted in 2026 after the CFP's current television contract with ESPN concludes after the 2025 season, though it has also been reported that it could start in 2024 if issues with scheduling and revenue distribution can be resolved. Swarbrick was a part of a group of committee members (along with former Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson) who proposed the same change in the summer of 2021. It fell through in January 2022 without enough ap- proval from other members of the committee. Now, they're all in agreement. The six top-ranked conference champions will receive automatic bids, and the top four will be slotted in as the top four seeds and granted first- round byes. The No. 5 seed will play the No. 12 seed, the No. 6 seed will play the No. 11 seed, and so on. Notre Dame's best-case scenario is secur- ing the No. 5 overall seed because of the Irish's independence. Swarbrick still prefers a 12-team format because there are six at-large bids up for grabs for Notre Dame every year, and it does not need to play a 13th game in a conference cham- pionship to earn one. The new model would also allow more op- portunities for teams who could not previously sniff the playoff to be a part of it. Swarbrick is also in favor of that. "From my perspective, it was an appropriate trade-off to get a model that I thought was the right one for college football," Swarbrick said in June 2021. "Even though we don't play in a conference, I recognize the importance of strong conferences and providing oppor- tunity to the [Group of Five]. We wanted to do that. "I do think it's helpful to us to be able to say, look, Alabama put its position at risk in its title game, or Oklahoma put its position at risk in its conference title game. We're doing the same thing in the first round. We are on par in that regard, other than not enjoying a potential No. 1 through 4 seed." From a pure numbers perspective, the 12-team model makes a path to the playoff more attain- able for Notre Dame. The Irish have qualified for the CFP twice (2018, 2020) in its eight-season existence. If the CFP had been a 12-team playoff all along, it would have qualified an additional two times. The Irish finished No. 5 in the pre-bowl CFP rankings last year and No. 8 in 2015. An expanded playoff is more fuel for Notre Dame's continued inde- pendence, too. Swarbrick has said numerous times his three most im- portant factors for remaining inde- pendent are a lucrative television contract for Irish football, a secure path to the playoff and a home for Notre Dame's Olympic sports. The TV contract is reportedly set to take a giant leap in revenue when the current one with NBC ends at the end of the 2025 season. The playoff is expanding in Notre Dame's favor. And the ACC, and the Big Ten in hockey, are welcomed homes for Notre Dame's other sports. Notre Dame seems set, content and in a good spot moving forward with the falling of the expan- sion domino. — Tyler Horka College Football Playoff Expands To 12 Teams Jack Swarbrick helped design the 12-team College Football Playoff format that passed by unanimous vote Sept. 2. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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