College Football 12-Team Playoff Format Is Gaining A Lot of Momentum

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The decision to move off the BCS model to a four-team playoff was made almost a decade ago. Since then, the College Football Playoff model has seen success, but the talk of expansion has been rampant for some time now.

Pitches for expansion have mostly suggested increasing the number of teams to six or eight. We’ve seen some outlandish hopes for a 32-team playoff (looking at you, Mark Richt), but the main push has kept the number of teams under 10 — or at least it had.

According to Pete Thamel with Yahoo Sports, the consensus among top campus officials across the country calls for a 12-team playoff. In fact, it’s starting to look like that number could be the next step towards yet another round of changes.

“The reason that you go to 12 is because you can develop the road of least resistance toward a good result,” said a high-ranking college official with knowledge of the process.

Oddly enough, Nick Roush with Kentucky Sports Radio points out that this would be taking college football towards the old NFL playoff model, which changed in 2020. Considering we had only two college teams with a postseason chance at a national title less than a decade ago, moving to 12 is quite the change.

There are still a lot of hurdles that would need to be overcome out before any sort of final decision would be made. Thamel does a great job of breaking some of those hurdles down and going into detail about why 12 teams would be preferable to eight.

With 12 teams, there would be plenty of wiggle room for almost every worthy team to get in. Granted, some people will still find a reason to complain about the first couple teams that get left out, but it’s like that with every sport.

What we won’t have anymore is 1) Power Five conferences being left out and 2) worthy non-Power Five schools missing out on a legitimate chance for a national title. With the way things are now, players who choose to join programs such as Cincinnati, Boise State and UCF (claiming isn’t playing) know they won’t ever have a true chance to compete for a national championship.

Do the bigger schools care? No, but we all love a good Cinderella story. In a lot of cases, those schools will get slapped around by the big dogs, but there will be upsets — mark my words. There just needs to be the opportunity to make it happen.

I still don’t know how I feel about expanding to 12 teams, but I can see the logic of it. I highly suggest checking out Thamel’s piece on Yahoo Sports to understand why.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and


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  1. There may be some upset with the 13-14 seed (first two out) not being included, but I doubt their resumé would even be close to the first 6 in. seems every year there are legitimate claims for 5-6 being in ahead of some 1-4 team. This takes care of that pretty well. Sold!

  2. Personally I think this is complete ignorance. Well honestly it’s nothing more than a money grab. I mean the big boys (Bama, Clemson, OSU) would beat a 11th/12th ranked Coastal Carolina, UCF, Cincinnati etc 52-0 with their 2nd team.

    • Probably so Bayou B, probably so. I think what this does is ensures that more teams have a chance. Teams don’t have to go 12-0 to make the beauty contest. With 12 there can be the Power 5 champs plus 7 at large teams which can include the highest rated Group of 5. In those seasons whereby Alabama beats a really good Georgia team or LSU, Auburn and/or Tex A&M are 11-1 having only lost to Alabama those teams would get in the playoffs. I like it.

      • None of the above. I am a WVU double grad. I love the Big 12. I actually think the SEC is overrated as is the Big 10 and the ACC is weak other than Clemson. With the MSESPN bias toward the SEC do we really think a 1 or 2 loss Iowa State team (or whomever is the Pac 12 runner up) would make the tournament over a 1 or 2 loss SEC team?

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