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Paul Chryst is well aware of the changes barreling down on the Big Ten Conference and college football as a whole.

Entering his seventh season as the University of Wisconsin football team’s coach, he’s seen the landscape of the sport he’s dedicated nearly his entire adult life to shift dramatically. Players profiting off their name, image and likeness has gone from taboo to accepted and celebrated, and now a push to go bigger is sweeping across college football.

Wisconsin head football coach Paul Chryst opened media day with a press conference as his team prepares for the 2021 season following a disappointing 4-3 campaign a year ago.

Talks of the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams heated up this summer after a proposal was approved to be reviewed by the CFP’s top decision-makers. Late last month, the SEC accepted bids from Oklahoma and Texas to leave the Big 12 and join its conference.

Speaking at his program’s media day Thursday at Camp Randall Stadium, Chryst said he’s open to the idea of CFP expansion, but he has some reservations on how it may look.

“How many games do you really want being played?” Chryst said. “I still am a fan of the bowls and bowl system, and I know what that has meant to so many kids. We've gone to the highest-level type bowls, other than the championship ones, and we’ve been in others. They've all been really good experiences, right? So how do you incorporate that?

“The one thing about the end of the year is you are navigating the finals and we're not all on the same academic calendar. And so a long way of saying I think that (it’s) absolutely worth looking into and considering. Myself, players would be in favor of it, but then you’ve got to assess what are you giving up to get that? And that's where I think you really need people that truly care about the game to be a big influence in those decisions.”

Chryst said he hasn’t spent much time thinking about the prospect of the Big Ten adding programs, as he doesn’t have control over that.

“I think it'll be interesting. It's obviously time for leadership. This is the time to lead,” Chryst said.

The Big Ten hasn’t publicly courted any outside schools, but league commissioner Kevin Warren said the conference knows that possibility is coming if other Big 12 or even Pac-12 schools are looking for a new home.

“That's the world that we live in right now, and I know from where we sit we're always constantly evaluating what's in the best interests of the conference,” Warren said at Big Ten Media Days last month.


This article originally ran on madison.com.

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