The season begins in earnest this weekend, but most of the big players won’t be wearing helmets or shoulder pads. They are the coaches on the sideline, the commissioners and executives in their private luxury boxes.
College football is run by the men who control the money and make the most of it. Here are The Post’s 20 most influential people in the sport:
1. Greg Sankey
The SEC commissioner and chairman of the NCAA infractions committee has been in charge of college football’s most powerful conference for the past five years. He began building a massive network of relationships upon joining the league in 2002 and is one of the sport’s most well-liked and respected officials. The SEC is still king in college football, and Sankey is its most important voice.
2. Jimmy Pitaro
Becoming ESPN’s president in March 2018 — following John Skipper’s resignation — Pitaro holds the sport’s most important games in his hands. With seven years remaining on the $7.2 billion deal the network signed for the rights to the first 12 years of the College Football Playoff, the four-team field won’t be altered before 2026, unless ESPN benefits.