CFP reportedly had message for Rose Bowl about special requests
The Rose Bowl on Wednesday finally agreed to become a part of the expanded College Football Playoff, but “The Granddaddy of Them All” wants special treatment. Will the CFP be able to make that happen?
The College Football Playoff board of managers voted in September to expand the CFP to 12 teams starting in 2026. The Rose Bowl was the only one of the six bowls that rotate as CFP hosts that resisted the expansion. ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports that after months of negotiations, the CFP gave Rose Bowl officials an ultimatum — get on board or risk being shut out of the next television contract, which begins in 2026.
The Rose Bowl had previously been holding up expansion because it wanted special treatment from the CFP. Namely, they wanted to hold onto their exclusive playing window in the afternoon/evening on New Year’s Day. According to Thamel, CFP officials told Rose Bowl officials that they will make good-faith efforts to accommodate the requests. That would not, however, include the exclusive window for the Rose Bowl that isn’t a part of the CFP.
Nothing could be put into writing because there is no TV contract yet for the expanded CFP format. That means there is essentially a handshake agreement in place between the Rose Bowl and CFP. As Thamel put it, Rose Bowl officials ultimately were aware that “significant special favors” would not be guaranteed if they want to remain a part of the CFP.
Now that the Rose Bowl is no longer standing in the way of expansion, it is possible we could see a 12-team playoff as early as 2024. We have already gotten a glimpse of what a 12-team bracket would look like if it were in place this season.