- College football reporter
- Joined ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of Indiana University
Bowl Season executives who oversee the operation of 43 postseason bowl games sent a letter this week to hundreds of leaders in college football asking that any future College Football Playoff games in potential expansion models be held at bowl sites instead of on campus, according to a copy of the letter obtained Thursday by ESPN.
The letter, from Bowl Season executive director Nick Carparelli and chairman Mark Neville, was sent in anticipation of the CFP management committee’s in-person meetings Nov. 3-4 in Dallas to continue discussions about possibly expanding the playoff beyond the current four-team model. It’s the first time Bowl Season officials have publicly weighed in on the expansion conversation with the push for their venues.
“We believe any plan for an expanded playoff should include all playoff games being played within the traditional Bowl structure, not the home site of one of the participating teams,” the letter stated. “The Bowls would provide a neutral, competitively fair setting for these games as they have throughout their history. To exclude Bowl games from any round of an expanded playoff would be harmful to Bowl Season, individual Bowls and their host communities, and post-season college football in general.”
The management committee, which consists of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, has been focused on a 12-team format but has yet to reach a consensus on a plan to present to the CFP’s board of managers for a vote.
The 12-team model currently under consideration would include the six highest-ranked conference champions plus the next six highest-ranked teams. The four highest-ranked conference champions would receive first-round byes, while the other eight teams would play in the first round on the campus of the higher seed.
Carparelli told ESPN that the letter was sent to 403 people: 131 presidents and chancellors, 131 athletic directors, 131 head coaches, and the 10 FBS commissioners. In addition to reminding them of the important role Bowl Season has played in the history of the sport, Carparelli said the letter was sent to ask that, as the future of the sport continues to be contemplated, “Bowl Season have a seat at the table for the conversations.”
“We know that the commissioners are going to make these final decisions, and we would never intrude on that,” Carparelli said. “However, we look at postseason college football as having two components: the playoff component and bowl season. And they’re both equally important, and they really work together a lot of ways. So we think we can add a lot of value to the conversation and maybe come up with solutions that the commissioners would not have contemplated or maybe would have never thought that the bowl system could handle.”
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