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Changes coming to college football that we won’t feel until the season starts

Change has brought the sport of college football into a whole new era in 2024. The new 12-team CFB Playoff in a superconference era is bringing a new level of excitement to the sport, driving conversation topics this offseason. What we haven’t thought about is how the way we talk about the sport will change once football actually starts being played. Get ready for some things you’ll experience this fall.

ESPN is far from infallible, but one thing the four-letter network does well is listen to its fans. In 2022, they heard complaints that they spent too much time discussing the CFB playoffs too early in the season. They made a concerted effort to reduce talk of the CFB playoffs until later in the season and followed through on their promises, making their programming more enjoyable to watch until the playoffs were on the horizon in late October.

That’s all going away this year. With more teams competing for more spots in the CFB playoffs, the four-letter network will have an excuse to spend more time talking about its most valuable broadcast property early in the season. If college football fans get nauseated by the phrase “CFB playoffs,” they’d better stock up on Dramamine in October.

Not counting the COVID-shortened season, four of the nine CFB playoffs featured multiple undefeated teams. The days of multiple undefeated teams competing for a national championship are coming to an end.

The growth of the Power Conferences to 16-18 teams is eliminating divisions. There was always one division weaker than the other. In recent years, those divisions were the Big Ten West and the SEC East. Playing a weaker schedule in a weaker division is a thing of the past. Georgia could be the best team in the sport this fall and make the CFB playoffs with two losses. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it may take some time for people to adjust.

More math from the scoreboard

Using the transitive property is a fun way to rile up a fan of another team, but a terrible way to really judge a program. For example, my 24-year-old high school gym teacher was an Ohio State fan. When the Buckeyes lost to LSU in the 2007 National Championship, we told him that Kentucky was better than Ohio State that season because the Cats actually beat the Tigers. Was that true? No. Did it lead to a long, fiery tirade that we still talk about more than 15 years later? Yes.

With talk of the CFB Playoffs increasing, college football fans will be doing more math on the scoreboard to justify their program’s spot in the Top 12.

Ole Miss and Missouri enter the season with hopes of making the CFB playoffs, but they don’t face each other. They’ll likely be ranked similarly come November. Some fans will argue that their program is better because their team beat Oklahoma at home by more points. It’s an invalid argument, one we’ll see come up more often than ever.

The Big Ten on CBS

Last year we enjoyed CBS’ college football tune-in along with SEC highlights for one final season. While we’ve mentally prepared ourselves for it, there’s no way to prepare for the impact once that iconic introduction is followed by a series of Iowa punts.

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