Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said the conference will not languish in bureaucracy in their decision-making. A reflection of that is the Big Ten adding UCLA and USC to the conference (starting in 2024).
At Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday, Warren said that “we’re in a time of change” and is “embracing change”, and there are many changes. There’s NIL (name, image, likeness) which Warren said he fully supports, there’s conference realignment in the Big Ten being discussed, and then there’s college football playoff expansion.
When USC and UCLA enter the conference in 2024 the Big Ten will have 16 teams, and there’s a good likelihood the number of programs in the conference will continue to grow. With that in mind, it’s paramount that the Big Ten takes charge and lends its voice and influence to expand the playoff, which still just consists of four teams — discussions on potential expansion have been developing at a snail's pace to this point. However, Warren is optimistic there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
“I am 100% supportive for college football playoff expansion,” Warren said. “What is that right number? We’ll figure it out.”
Warren said there will be more meetings coming up with other conferences to talk about playoff expansion, and there will be many layers to peel back, including television rights to the playoff and protecting bowl partnerships.
“I still feel strongly that we need to open it up to have multiple media partners that we need to have from the college football playoff standpoint,” Warren said. “We need to take a holistic view, we need to make sure we protect some of the critical bowl relationships.”
The bottom line is expanding the playoff would be a positive thing for the conference, for Michigan — increasing the percentage of making the playoff is only a positive with pros and virtually no cons. The time to expand the playoff is already long overdue, but hopefully the powers in control can sort it out before the middle of the decade. If Warren is true to his word that the conference won’t languish in bureaucracy the Big Ten will lead the charge for expansion in the months to come.