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When CFP Playoffs Expand, G5 Commissioners Have One Job: Get In

The playoffs will go to eight at some point. Make sure the Group of 5 is there when they do.

"We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!"
"We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!"
Todd Bennett/Getty Images

When Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw said he hopes the College Football Playoff expands to eight teams within five years, he became the latest high-profile voice calling for change to a system that still hasn't seen its second season.

You won't be surprised to know that such a change would benefit McCaw's employer. It is painfully obvious that if conference musical chairs continue the Big XII will be the one shoved out of the last seat. That's bad for the conference and even worse for Baylor, who risks relegation to the kids' table in such an event.

None of that is relevant to us here in G5 land, not directly anyway. We've got our own concerns regarding a bigger playoff.

Aside from the handful of schools hoping for a big-conference invite the rest of us are wondering the best way to move forward under the current system. Is the access bowl enough? Will the money schools price us out with enormous stipends? Do we need to sacrifice ourselves for pay more or less often?

These are valid concerns, but if you're the commissioner of a Group of Five conference, your eyes need to be focused directly on one goal: a spot in that bigger playoff.

Football fans have been counting down the days to the new season. With the passing of milestones such as media days, the advent of fall practice, the one-month mark, fans pick various dates to declare "football season has begun."

The countdown to an eight-team playoff has begun. McCaw's statement is the beginning of spring practice and G5 leaders need to put in the work to earn a guaranteed place when that day comes.

In theory it shouldn't be a hard sell. Roughly 50 percent of the FBS is is the G5, how can one argue they don't deserve 12.5 percent of the playoff slots? It'll even be good for TV. Boise State over Oklahoma remains an unforgettable moment in college football history precisely because it was small program against big. The game was fantastic, yes. It wouldn't be the event it was had Oklahoma fallen to Texas A&M.

The highest-ranked G5 champion needs to be in an eight-team playoff. Some will argue it should only happen if they're ranked in the top 15, or the top 20, or some other opinion-based qualifier that can be used to squeeze them out. It must be one spot, every year, no matter what.

That needs to be the first, second and third priority for these commissioners, planned for, made clear from day one and kept in the cards at all costs. If they get bogged down in fighting for a higher payout, or more bowl tie-ins, or stealing members from each other or something else, they could risk marginalizing their schools forever.

Just think of how exciting a G5 playoff spot will make the season. Every preview guide will include a piece about which small school could get their shot on the big stage. G5s will win in the playoffs, too, as we've seen by victory after victory in the old BCS bowl games. That one slot will help legitimize the very existence of 60+ teams.

You hear that, Karl Benson? You hear that, Britton Banowsky's replacement? You hear that, Craig Thompson, Mike Aresco and Jon Steinbrecher?

We know y'all have  a lot on your plate. It's a tough job with a million responsibilities and people questioning your every move.

No one will question this move, except the haters who don't want you to succeed anyway.

So get out there guys, if you haven't already. Make those phone calls, get on that flight, waltz into that office and be heard. Shake hands, kiss babies, smoke cigars in a dark back room if that's what it takes.

We need G5s in the playoffs!