A stacked conference championship weekend begins on Friday night. Fifth-ranked Oregon faces No. 3 Washington in the last-ever Pac-12 title game as that conference breaks up — and other championship games could be joining it in the near future.
The commissioners of the Power 4 (the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC) appear to be split on the long-term value of conference title games under an expanded College Football Playoff, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.
“It’s been the right way to do things for a while,” Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti said. “But down the road as the playoff changes, are there other ideas to consider? Yes.”
ACC commissioner Jim Phillips echoed that sentiment: “We are in a period of change and assessment. Conference championships should be assessed. Is it necessary to play a 13th game?”
The downside is that conference championship games can be worth more than $40 million in some media rights deals, per the report. Understandably, some college leaders don’t want that to change.
“From a marketing, brand and reach perspective, it’s of huge value for us,” Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said. “We look at it as a tentpole event. It’s a great game, but also a great show.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey called a title game an “important part” of determining a conference champion — and the expanded playoff will give automatic bids to at least five conference champs.
Terminating conference title games for each of the Power 4 would likely require contract negotiations with their broadcast partners and could take years to put into effect.