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NCAA Opens Door For Changes To Conference Championship Games

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The NCAA has recently changed the format and setup of the championship game in 2022, which can affect who takes home the championship in the future. The Pac-12 immediately altered the setup after multiple members voted unanimously and chose to do away with divisions that have always been in place in the past. Members of the Pac-12 include the board of directors in the conference, athletic directors, and football coaches.

In the past, the Pac-12 south division has always competed against the Pac-12 north division. Football conferences with 12 or more members have always been required to have a final championship game at the end of the season and divide the different teams into divisions throughout the year. There have been round-robin schedules for other opponents in the divisions.

The new changes mean that the different divisions will influence who will have the opportunity to participate in the final championship game. The conference was vocal about how if the change had occurred and been in place in past years, it would have changed who would have won the championship in five of the 11 games. FBS conferences can decide what team wins the championship without needing to decide which two teams have to compete against one another as they attempt to win.

This is a historical change in college football because the Pac-12 is the first conference to begin making the change after the announcement was made. It can also affect other changes that are made in the future and, ultimately, who has the better chance of winning each year.

This new development was prompted by the roster turnover, which led the NCAA to change the requirements of the initial scholarship counter. Four of the five conferences have divisions, including Pac-12, Big Ten, the ACC, and the SEC. The setup is now likely to change. Historically, colleges have always been limited to only choosing 25 players awarded scholarships each year. Some loopholes that have been in place have also complicated the process.

A press release stated that the FBC conferences agreed and supported the new change. The Pac-12 initiated the motion and encouraged it to be executed. The format of the football championship will allow the football teams that have the highest winning percentage to compete during the final game of the championship.

George Kliavkoff, the Pac-12 commissioner, stated that the purpose of the new change is to allow the top football teams to compete in the final Pac-12 Football Championship Game. This will enhance the CFP invitations and help the conference have a better chance of taking home a trophy. The decision supports the goal and can also help the fans have more interest in the championship. The Football Championship Game can potentially attract more spectators and football fans in the future.

In the past, it’s proven to be effective when two different teams that have the highest conference records of wins can win championships in the conference. The conferences also can use the CFP rankings to determine the team that wins if there are tiebreakers in the future. This will make it easier to help teams have the opportunity a bid for the next championship.

This new system means that Michigan and Ohio State would be featured in two conference championship games. The 2020 title game would also have been between Texas A&M and Alabama instead of Florida and Alabama.

The scheduling of when the teams play will be impacted because there’s no longer a need to have divisions in place. This benefits the ACC as it’s previously started exploring a 305 model to ensure different colleges only play three teams during the year. The 3-5-5 scheduling model could be in place as early as 2023. The five conference opponents would then rotate every year. Many people have also discussed a format that includes four-team pods within some of the conferences. George Kliabkoff has been vocal about how putting two teams together to compete can benefit the College Football Playoff.

Some people are concerned with the imbalances present within the different conferences. This has resulted in the East division champion winning eight other times due to the format that is currently in place. Without the need for divisions with the new format, it can still be challenging to have a balanced schedule that is fair with the 16 competing teams, including Texas and Oklahoma in the SEC.

With this new model, all of the teams in the ACC will need to play other teams in the same division during one game throughout the season. They may even have a year before they play other ACC teams again.

The remainder of the schedule for 2022 will continue without any further changes made. The league also announced that the scheduling of the future conferences would need to be reviewed in the future beyond the 2022 schedule.

The Division I Council also made another significant change to the format regarding the cap of 25 players who are signed and given scholarships with the different college football programs. Moving forward, colleges will have the ability to provide scholarships to more than 25 players. This doesn’t affect the requirement of having 85 total scholarships with all of the FBS programs. The change can allow for more flexibility with the schedule and make it easier to move the coaching staff throughout the year.

Due to the pandemic, the roaster schedule has been known to be complicated and chaotic, leading to issues. Programs that have players that were promoted to the NFL have found it challenging to get 85 different players back onto the team because there haven’t been as many prospects available to sign.

DI Council chair Shane Lyons states that the annual limits have caused many colleges to feel restricted in giving out their scholarships. The change may be temporary, but it can make it easier for schools to provide aid to new students who are added to the team and coming out of high school.

In the future, the Football Oversight Committee will be responsible for collecting and tracking data associated with recruiting new players. They’ll have to discover any trends present in the next two years to make well-informed decisions regarding any changes that need to be made to improve the programs.

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