'Group of 5' Considering College Football Playoff for Non-Power Conference Teams

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2016

KALAMAZOO, MI - NOVEMBER 25:  head coach P.J. Fleck of the Western Michigan Broncos prior to the game against the Toledo Rockets at Waldo Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

With power-conference teams dominating the College Football Playoff, support is growing for "Group of Five" teams to have their own playoff in the future.

According to ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy, Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier is among those spearheading the effort: "It's time to have a realistic conversation about creating a playoff for the Group of Five. Why not? ... There is absolutely no ability for us [teams in the Group of Five] to be in that national title conversation. That's just reality. Anyone that says we can: that's a flat-out lie."

The highest-ranked Group of Five team from the AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Independents this season is undefeated Western Michigan at No. 15, which will meet Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

Per McMurphy, there is a divide among Group of Five representatives. Some favor their own playoff due to the interest it would generate, while others believe it would further remove them from the national conversation.

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco is among those who wants to compete with the power-conference teams: "The answer is an emphatic no. We compete for national championships like anyone else in FBS, including the Power Five, and have no interest in any kind of separate championship."

While a Group of Five playoff could further hinder a non-power-conference team's chances of reaching the CFP, it is a concept that has already garnered interest from NBC, CBS and ESPN, according to McMurphy.

Until a transcendent Group of Five team crashes the CFP, teams outside the power conferences are relegated to battling it out for one big bowl spot on an annual basis.


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