College football playoffs expand to 12-team format

The College Football Playoffs governing board unanimously decided Friday to expand the CFP to 12 teams in 2026, but encourages sports commissioners to implement the CFP by 2024.

The board’s 11 presidents and prime ministers have endorsed the original 12-team model, which includes the top six conference champions and six at-large teams, the board said Friday.

“Today is a historic and exciting day for college football. Excitement is good for our fans, alumni and student-athletes, and I thank my colleagues on the Board for their thoughtful approach to this issue and their determination to expand beyond the target line, and We thank the Executive Committee for their extensive work in making this decision possible.”

Team rankings will continue to be determined by the CFP selection committee, but this is largely unchanged.

The top four conference champions will be seeded 1-4 and each will receive a first round bye. Teams seeded 5-12 will meet in the first round on the second or third weekend in December. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will alternate bowl games, and the championship games will be played at neutral sites, similar to the current four-team format.

The 12-team model was initially put together by SEC Commissioners Greg Sankey, Swarbrick, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson, and former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlesby. That he went public in June 2021, but was bogged down by the politics of the conference. In February, CFP announced that it would not expand on its current contract, which expires after the 2025 season.

The main holdups were concrete opposition from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12. But after a restructuring thunderbolt this summer with USC and UCLA pledging to join the Big Ten and that conference signing a historic television deal, those league problems began to fade into the background. .

Two weeks ago, the CFP board held an unannounced conference call to discuss expansion and the possibility of a 12-team playoff within the current contract structure. It was a groundbreaking day for sports on Friday afternoon, appearing just before the official start of the football season on Saturday.

“Pac-12 is strongly in favor of expanding the CFP and welcomes the CFP Board’s decision,” Pac-12 said in a statement on Friday. “Expanding the CFP will increase access and excitement, and is the right thing to do for student-athletes and fans. looking forward to it.”

It could take weeks or months to determine the likelihood of a 12-team playoff in 2024 or 2025. A powerful motivation for change.


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