The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2022 THE WOLVERINE 9 BY ANTHONY BROOME T he College Football Playoff is set to expand from four to 12 teams by the 2026 season with conference commission- ers and school presidents work- ing hard to get it installed by the 2024 season. The CFP board of manag- ers voted unanimously on the 12-team model, which includes the six highest-ranked con- ference champions and six at- large teams. The top four seeds would receive first-round byes while the 5-8 seeds would host the lower-seeded opponents on their home campus. "There are still quite a few issues that have to be resolved — some very obvious logistical issues that have to be resolved — but we hope that we can get [the com- missioners] to move on this as quickly as it is possible to do so," Mississippi State president Mark Keenum, chair of the CFP's board of managers, said. "We have asked our commissioners, the management committee, to explore the possibility of us beginning the 12-team playoff format before the 2026 season, in either 2024 or 2025." Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement that CFP expansion "is excellent for college football, and excellent for the Big Ten Conference. While work remains, we are proud of what has been accomplished. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with our colleagues to actualize the 12- team format." A bigger CFP means there are more games to broadcast, opening the door for a much bigger payout in television revenue. Sources told FrontOffice- that an expanded playoff could mean more than $2 billion an- nually in media rights coming. ESPN currently holds exclusive rights to the playoff, but FOX is reportedly in the mix moving forward with Amazon and Apple also interested in expanding their sports offerings. "[CFP expansion is] great," U-M head football coach Jim Harbaugh said on Sept. 5. "All for it." The Big Ten's recent multi-billion- dollar deal already has Harbaugh calling for the conference to revenue share with its players for use of their Name, Image and Likeness. He doubled down on his earlier comments and re-affirmed his belief in player compensation. "I think you know exactly where I stand on that," Harbaugh said. "Well documented that I do believe the play- ers should receive a revenue share from the massive TV deals that have been worked out. … As I said back in the summer, I think a large piece should come from the ones who are negotiat- ing those TV deals — you know, the Big Ten. I mean, it's seven- point-something billion. A lot of billions. It's a lot of money. Yeah, I think the players should receive a revenue share." Of the eight playoffs held so far, Michigan would have made its CFP debut during the 2016 season in a 12-team format and followed it up with a berth in 2018. Harbaugh's pre-2021 hot seat may have been cooler much sooner in a more wide-open for- mat. Hypothetically, here is how Michigan would have fared, in a 12-team playoff since the 2014 season: 2014 — 5-7 regular season record, did not place in final CFP rankings 2015 — 9-3, 14th in final CFP rank- ings 2016 — 10-2, 6th in final CFP rank- ings; first-round game vs. Florida State (Ann Arbor) 2017 — 8-4, did not place in final CFP rankings 2018 — 10-2, 7th in final CFP rank- ings; first-round game vs. Florida (Ann Arbor) 2019 — 9-3, 14th in final CFP rank- ings 2020 — 2-4, did not place in final CFP rankings 2021 — 11-1, 2nd in final CFP rank- ings; first-round bye, would have played the winner of No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 10 Michigan State. ❑ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS College Football Playoff Expansion Is Coming, Jim Harbaugh Wants Player Revenue Share More teams — and more money — will be involved in the expanded, 12-team College Football Playoff, which administrators are hoping is instituted by 2026, at the latest. U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated his belief that the players should receive a share of that expanded revenue. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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