It’ll start slowly, with a 15-month recruiting deadlock ending on Tuesday.
This will resume on July 1 when the issue of compensating football players for their skills by allowing them to receive additional financial benefits through their name and likeness (NIL) comes into play.
And that will accelerate in the fall when the one-time (penalty-free) transfer phase that has opened up a sort of “free agency” in college football becomes more real with the start of the 2021 season.
Welcome to the wild west of the CFB, which will be a big difference from the uncertainty and chaos of last season’s pandemic-dominated season, where just playing the game was a major achievement.
Allowing recruits on campus for the first time in 15 months has turned the quiet period of late spring, early summer into a midseason frenzy of activity as the recruiting process shifts from a zoom environment at a time when players can actually visit the places they will be living in the next few years.
But it’s more than that.
There are also seismic rumbles from the top where the format of college football – now a four-team playoff – will be discussed and inevitably changed.
It is also a period when negotiations for new television contracts are seriously discussed.
While there is no definitive announcement for at least the next few months, count on an extension of the playoffs – my best guess being that adding 8 more spots will be the arrangement that is being negotiated with the strong. possibility of a package of $ 1 billion per year.
12 teams, with the top four teams receiving exemptions and first-round and quarter-final matches played at campus venues (top seed arrives home) in the second and third weeks of December.
Such an arrangement would only fill the December college football schedule with meaningful games, starting with the conference league games on the first weekend in December.
The current Final Four Bowl game, starting with the New Years Six Bowls, would remain unchanged for at least the next few years.
Another looming possibility would be ESPN, which is working hard to become the primary outlet for the playoff system, to revamp its bowl plan.
ESPN currently has 17 bowl games, which it hosts in various locations across the country from mid-December through the New Years holiday.
What would make sense would be for the network to take most of these bowls and run them regularly while on vacation in Orlando, Florida, which is ESPN’s southern base of operations with plenty of sports facilities.
ESPN’s ‘campus’ in Florida already has sports fields for soccer, lacrosse and soccer. It could easily take part of this field and turn it into a mini-stadium (15,000 to 20,000 ), then bundle their bowling rounds into a Disney – World Holiday Sports Package, where hotel accommodations and tickets to bowling matches could be part of a package.
What do you think is best, a Christmas trip to Detroit for a game between the second tier MAC and CCA teams or a trip to Orlando and Disney World, plus bowl game?
This plan may take a while, but rest assured that the extended playoffs and the chaos that will be created by the advent of free will and some form of “pay for play” will change the face of CFB much faster.
Even without that, it’s a season that will hopefully bring the return of crowded stadiums and the drama of intriguing opening weekend games such as Miami vs. Alabama or Clemson vs. Georgia.
Let the games, the fun and the chaos begin.