Previewing the College Football Playoff meetings

The 10 Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are meeting in Dallas this week to review the first season of the College Football Playoff, and though there will be no shortage of topics, it’s highly unlikely there will be any major changes.

“As much as anything, it will be a reflection on the successes of the first year,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “You can’t become complacent because the first year came out of the blocks in such a successful way, but I don’t think there will be a lot of changes. Maybe there will be some tweaks, but I don’t think there will be any real significant changes coming out of this meeting.”

“It’s mostly blocking and tackling -- to use football vernacular,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

Members of the College Football Playoff selection committee will not be there, but the commissioners will hear a report from committee chair Jeff Long. Bowlsby said he doesn’t expect any formal votes, and there aren’t any major policy issues to deal with. The commissioners will talk money matters and meet with television and media partners, along with sponsors, and they will discuss the bowl experience for the players in both the semifinals and the national championship game. Bowlsby said they will also discuss the “ongoing challenges” as far as getting tickets to the games sold and distributed.

Here’s a snapshot of topics expected to be addressed:

Weekly rankings

The selection committee met in Indianapolis last month to review the season, and with the exception of one fewer Top 25 ranking – a byproduct of the season starting a week later - no other major changes were recommended to the playoff’s management committee.

That doesn’t mean the commissioners couldn’t propose to have two fewer rankings -- or any other changes.

“It’s possible,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “We have not discussed it as a group yet. From my perspective, I think it went extraordinarily well the first year. I think we got it about right, and the quality of the work the selection committee did was terrific.”

If the commissioners agree to have one fewer ranking, the first would be released Nov. 3.

Big 12 has big question

Bowlsby wants to know just how much a 13th game matters.

National champion Ohio State would say it made all the difference in the world.

Ohio State’s convincing win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game no doubt provided the Buckeyes the final boost they needed to crack the committee’s top four, which leaves the Big 12 to wonder if it needs a conference championship game in the playoff era.

“I think we’ll ask that question,” Bowlsby said. “I’ve said publicly before that was really the only surprising element of it. If the 13th game was going to be of such substantial importance, we would’ve liked to have known about it earlier. And since we were still playing on the last day of the season and still playing good competition, we didn’t expect the fact that one played 13 and one played 12 was going to be of that level of impact. We’ll certainly ask that question, but it’s not something we’re probably going to get a real definitive answer on.”

While the conference postseason will be discussed, Bowlsby said this is not a forum to debate why TCU dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 in spite of winning.

“We’ll certainly want to know [if it is] a disadvantage to play 12 games versus 13 games,” he said, “but we’re not going to go back and second-guess the work of the selection committee.”

Future sites

The commissioners will also discuss potential future sites for the 2018, ’19 and ’20 national championship games, but playoff officials don’t plan to release the official list of cities that have put in bids to host the games until the end of May.

The Rose Bowl will not bid on the next three CFP championship games, but Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville, South Florida, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Santa Clara, California, are among confirmed cities that have decided to bid.

The playoff has a site selection committee, but ultimately the College Football Playoff's management committee will be involved in selecting the sites. Bowlsby is on the site selection committee and said the future locations must be approved by the commissioners and university presidents.

“They’ve started on it, but that won’t come to fruition at this meeting,” he said.

The future sites are expected to be announced in October.

NCAA stipends

Less than a week before the inaugural playoff in January, the NCAA granted the playoff permission to provide up to $3,000 in travel expenses for families of competing student-athletes. Not knowing exactly what the NCAA’s limit would be, the College Football Playoff decided on a stipend of $1,250 per parent or guardian.

The commissioners and playoff executives will likely revisit that number this week.

“I think there will be some discussion, not about doing it -- because I think we’re all on board with that -- but about the best way to make that work efficiently,” Swofford said. “That all happened very quickly last year when the NCAA allowed that to occur. … I think we all feel it’s entirely appropriate and are glad to see it. The discussion would be more about implementation and the best way to do that for the athletes’ families and the institutions.”