College Football Playoff Could Expand To 12 Teams By Friday

Breaking news reports Wednesday revealed that the College Football Playoff Board of Managers could authorize a 12-team playoff format as soon as Friday:

This apparently could take effect as soon as the 2024 season, and the ’24 and ’25 playoffs would be expanded.

This contradicts earlier reporting that the playoffs would not be expanding until 2026 at the earliest:

This proposal would seemingly adopt the framework first proposed by the playoff working group last year.

Several of the key takeaways would mean substantial changes to the current iteration:

  • First-round games would take place on campuses sometime during the two-week period after conference championship games;
  • Quarterfinals would be played on January 1—or January 2 when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday—and on an adjacent day;
  • Semifinal and championship game dates are to be determined, but semifinals likely will not be played as a doubleheader like they are currently;
  • The playoff bracket would follow the rankings, with no modifications made to avoid rematches of teams that may have played during the regular-season or are from the same conference;
  • The bracket would remain in effect throughout the playoff (i.e., no re-seeding), following the format of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament;
  • The working group’s charge did not include deciding which bowls might be a part of the CFP in the future, however, the group did recommend that if traditional bowls host games, teams would be assigned to their traditional bowls for quarterfinal games with priority going to the higher-seeded team;
  • All 11 games would be under the CFP umbrella, with the administrative specifications and the process for selecting the six bowls that would rotate as hosts of the quarterfinals and semifinals still to be determined.
An expanded College Football Playoff would provide smaller schools and conferences a better chance to make the dance
An expanded College Football Playoff would provide smaller schools and conferences a better chance to make the dance (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The biggest change would be massive: tournament-style games played on home campuses. These would be incredibly desirable games both for hosting purposes and for television ratings.

Imagine, say, a College Football Playoff first-round matchup of the newly hatable USC Trojans against, say, Alabama down in Tuscaloosa. Or the Georgia Bulldogs heading up to Ann Arbor to face Jim Harbaugh and Michigan on a field covered in snow.

TV broadcasts have become the single-most important aspect of sports decision-making, and the benefits of expanded competitive matchups between presumably marquee opponents might be too tempting to pass up.

It would also allow more opportunities for surprising mid-major teams to get their chance at a title; programs like UCF have previously been denied an opportunity to compete against the Alabamas and Clemsons of the world. This would definitely change that.

With realignment, exploding NIL deals, and now potentially expanded playoffs, there’s never been a more interesting time to be a college football fan.

Oh, and the season really kicks off this weekend. Buckle up.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, ice cream expert and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, eating as much pizza as humanly possible, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. These 3-4 year waits to change conferences (Texas & OU) and to implement a new playoff format is ridiculous. I appreciate there are long range scheduling and facility availability issues BUT those issues can always be resolved.

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