The non-profit organization Bowl Season that represents the 43 postseason bowl games has asked the College Football Playoff that all games in an expanded playoff be played entirely within the bowl system. In addition, the organization has asked for a spot at the table in further CFP discussion.
In a letter dated Monday and obtained by CBS Sports that went out to the 130 FBS presidents, athletic directors, coaches and 10 FBS commissioners, the organization stated:
"An expanded playoff should include all playoff games being played within the traditional Bowl structure, not the home site of one of the participating teams. The Bowls would provide a neutral, competitively fair setting for these games as they have throughout their history."
As currently proposed, a 12-team playoff would include four first-round play-in games for eight teams at campus sites. The next two rounds in the quarterfinals and finals would be played at bowl sites. Those sites would presumably be the current New Year's Six bowls – Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach and Rose -- though the specific sites have yet to be officially determined.
The letter is signed by Bowl Season executive director Nick Carparelli and chairman Mark Neville, executive director of the Holiday Bowl. All 43 bowl games are listed.
"To exclude Bowl games from any round of an expanded playoff would be harmful to Bowl Season, individual Bowls and their host communities, and post-season college football in general," the letter states. "The future direction of college football has reached a volatile point. As a leader and caretaker of college athletics, we appreciate your consideration of the key role the Bowls play in your university experience."
Bowl Season went on to "respectfully request to be included in the deliberative process going forward on the future of college football."
There were no immediate details on how Bowl Season representatives wished to be included in the process.
"We welcome the input we have received from the bowls, along with the input of the many other people who are interested in the College Football Playoff," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in response to the letter. "The Management Committee and the Board of Managers take all feedback seriously and we look forward to our next meetings to discuss the possibility of a new format."
The expansion process has been fractionalized as CFP leaders prepare to meet Wednesday and Thursday in Irving, Texas, for the next round of talks. There has been pushback on whether the current four-team field will expand to eight or 12 or at all. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey -- part of a four-person subcommittee to make the 12-team proposal -- has stated he is fine with the four-team field if an expansion decision can't be made.
There have already been questions raised about those first-round, on-campus games due to potential missed final exams and issues with "winterization," preparing a campus stadium for freezing December temperatures. There is also a situation where a team playing a first-round game could end up on the field for a record 17 games in a season if it reaches the CFP National Championship.
Hancock recently told the Associated Press that a new playoff structure could begin as soon as the 2024 season if expansion is finalized. If not, the current contract will likely be honored through the 2025 season with the expanded playoff beginning in 2026.
Further fractionalizing discussions is how to value an expanded playoff. Several stakeholders want the current contract to expire in an effort to maximize the value of a new, expanded playoff with multiple bidders taking part in the TV rights.
Bowl executives have complained about the impact of a championship postseason since the BCS was established in 1998. Alabama coach Nick Saban has argued in the past that the season focusing on the playoff has been detrimental to the regular season and other traditional bowl games.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been vocal about how an expanded playoff will enhance the regular season.
"It's going to be very good for regular-season TV," Bowlsby told CBS Sports. "It's going to be very good for regular-season attendance. This time of year, Week 7 or 8, there's going to be 40 teams that have a legitimate rooting possibility of being in there. Another 3-4 weeks from now, there's still going to be 20-25 teams. That's a far cry from [saying] 'Who's in' and there are 4 or 5 teams that have a chance."