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'Way too soon' to talk College Football Playoff expansion

Chairman of board: school presidents, conference commissioners 'not there yet'

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban leads his team on the field prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship against the Clemson Tigers at Levi's Stadium on Jan. 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban leads his team on the field prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship against the Clemson Tigers at Levi's Stadium on Jan. 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Those fans clamoring for the College Football Playoff to expand had better not hold their breath.

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, chairman of the College Football Playoff board of managers, said after Monday's annual meeting that there are no plans to expand beyond the current four-team format.

"It is our unanimous agreement that the playoff has been a tremendous success for students, fans and universities," Keenum said in a statement. "We are very proud of it. Fans love to watch it and we look forward to its continued success."

Keenum said the board and conference commissioners, along with Notre Dame's athletic director, "always look at everything and we will do so again."

"As far as expanding the number of teams in the playoff, it's way too soon -- much too soon -- to know if that is even a possibility," Keenum said. "It's fair to say the speculation about expansion has outdistanced the reality of what the commissioners and the presidents have discussed. If a decision were to be made down the road, the presidents would be the ones to make it and we are not there."

Keenum's comments were made just hours before No. 1 Alabama (14-0) and No. 2 Clemson (14-0) played in the fifth College Football Playoff National Championship. It will be the fourth consecutive meeting between the teams in the College Football Playoff and third in the College Football Playoff National Championship since the 2015 season.

That has led some to criticize the process for selecting the four teams. A precursor to the Bowl Championship Series, the College Football Playoff uses a selection committee -- not computers -- to determine the top four teams.

Alabama, which has won five national titles since the 2009 season, is the only team to participate in each year of the College Football Playoff.

At some point, Keenum admitted, the board "will consider all aspects of the playoff." 

"When that discussion happens, I advise observers not to read too much into it," Keenum said. "We have a 12-year contract we are very happy with. It is always appropriate to ask the right questions and to examine every issue to be sure we have things right. We are very satisfied with the playoff and look forward to its continued success."