ACC Isn't in Favor of Expanding CFP, Commissioner Jim Phillips Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 14, 2022

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner Jim Phillips speaks during the NCAA college football ACC media days in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, July 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
AP Photo/Nell Redmond

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said the conference's members are unified against an imminent expansion of the College Football Playoff.

"The membership of the ACC is very much aligned in its position that now is not the time to expand the College Football Playoff," Phillips told reporters Friday.

He laid out several concerns shared by the ACC programs, per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated:

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

Phillips cites several issues complicating CFP expansion: length of season, academic calendar, student athletes healthcare, NCAA governance structure, federal legislation, impact on bowls.

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

If ACC would be in favor of expansion in future, why not support it now? <br> Phillips lists 3 "buckets" of concerns: (1) impact of additional games on students; (2) disruption of college athletics (NIL &amp; transfer portal); (3) needs a holistic review of football calendar.

The ACC failed to send a team to the College Football Playoff for the first time in the eight-year history of the four-team tournament this season. Clemson had earned six straight berths from 2015 through 2020, while Florida State and Notre Dame each represented the conference once over the years.

Phillips explained Tigers players weren't in favor of a longer schedule to accommodate a potential eight- or 12-team postseason bracket.

"They don't want to play more games," he said.

Clemson played 15 games four times over the past six years when it appeared in the CFP National Championship Game. A 12- or 16-team field would increase the max games total to 17, barring reductions elsewhere in the schedule.

Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson told ESPN's Heather Dinich last week the most recent proposal centered around a 12-team playoff with automatic bids for all of the Power Five conference champions and the top-ranked Group of Five champion.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said he felt "strongly" the winners of the Power Five titles deserve a berth in the CFP field.

"It's just very important that we have the automatic qualifiers for the five conferences," Warren told Dinich. "It's just the demands of the schedule ... and I strongly believe that if you are crowned the Big Ten champion, that you should have an opportunity to participate for a national championship."

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco, whose conference earned its first playoff bid in 2021 thanks to Cincinnati, said there are still "some differences" that must get worked out, including the Group of Five's belief certain teams are given preferred treatment "based on their brand."

Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported Monday the sides remained at a "stalemate" with no sign a final agreement was close.

"Everyone is more concerned about their own silo than someone else's," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

Given the lack of compromise so far, it appears hope of expansion in the short term is starting to fade.