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How does the 12-team playoff impact group of 5, conference realignment?

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Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel dive into the minutia of the proposed 12-team college football playoff. Hear the full conversation on the Yahoo Sports College Podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: Conference champs. What did you think of the six?

PETE THAMEL: So I thought the six was good, and I want to make this point. And I'm not sure if it's amid your extensive bullet point notes. This is great news for the Group of Five, in part because I think it helps their short-term visibility and their long-term viability. If you're Boise State, for example, or you're Cincinnati, for example, you obviously-- if you're Boise, you want to go to the Pac-12 or the Big 12 someday.

Now the Pac-12 hasn't been particularly interested in them. It probably doesn't make a ton of sense to go to the Big 12 if you're Boise, but maybe you have to. So if you're at Cincinnati, you obviously want to go to whatever league would take you, right? Be it the ACC, be it the Big 12, wherever. But I don't think there's that--

Now you want to because you're gonna triple the amount of money you make. So I'm not naive thinking, oh, they'll never leave. They'll be there forever and lock arms and sing kumbaya. No, that's not gonna happen. But what's gonna happen is, if you're Cincinnati, you're in really good shape.

I had a coach text me when we broke the 12-team thing early last week, and he said Gus Malzahn has the best job in the country right now. Now Gus is the UCF head coach, and that is a place where they won't be favored to win this year because Cincinnati's a juggernaut, but you at UCF can have a viable path and almost an expectation now to be in the playoff conversation and competition.

So that's really cool for those campuses. They lifted the velvet rope for them. And if you're Craig Thompson, Mike Aresco, those types of commissioners, I mean, there was a decade where those guys just lived on the edge, right? But I think we're entering an era where we will-- a decade ago, realignment was prompted by cable boxes and inventory. Well, now if these leagues are smart, they'd contract teams. They wouldn't add teams.

DAN WETZEL: There were six bids in the last eight years for the American. Cincinnati gets one. Memphis gets one. UCF could go three times. Houston. Western Michigan would get a bid. Boise would get a bid. And Coastal Carolina. Last year, you'd have two Group of Five teams in, Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina, because the Pac-12 fails.

Now you say most years, that's not gonna happen. Probably. But as long as you have these conference championship games where you have a championship game based on geography, it's not out of the question, certainly in the Big Ten where, let's say, a three or four-loss Northwestern team or something upsets Ohio State, if that could happen. Northwestern doesn't get in. And all a sudden, boom, somebody else is in from these other leagues.

I think the six automatic bids is great. Everyone expected four and one or five and one, but I like this. It eliminates, too, that undeserving team, the ACC--

PETE THAMEL: 8 and 4 Washington--

DAN WETZEL: --North team.

PETE THAMEL: --that got blown out out of conference and then--


PETE THAMEL: --gets hot--

DAN WETZEL: Something like that.

PETE THAMEL: --late. Yes.


PETE THAMEL: All you have to say is Pitt. That's it.

DAN WETZEL: Just Pitt.

PETE THAMEL: It just covers it.

DAN WETZEL: Pitt somehow upsets Clemson.

PETE THAMEL: Pitt. Just Pitt. The Pitt principal.

DAN WETZEL: No one wants to see Pitt.


DAN WETZEL: The Group of Five can't be like, oh, we're getting cheated here.


DAN WETZEL: It doesn't say Group of Five. It doesn't say Power Five. It just says give us your six best, and so everyone's equal. And--

PETE THAMEL: Yeah, they should break their ankles to sign this thing.

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, I'm sure they will. I mean, it's a terrific opportunity. And, again, those really good teams, the Cincy. The American could absolutely be hosting games.

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