College Football Playoff Will Not Expand Beyond Four Teams Until At Least 2026

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The College Football Playoff will not be expanding any time soon, staying with the four-team model until at least 2026. This news comes after the Playoff committee heard recommendations from the management committee earlier this week.

The Playoff committee has met a few times in the past couple of months, trying to come to a conclusion about the appropriate number of Playoff teams. They also discussed “automatic qualifiers” and plenty of other issues. The Playoff Committee was scheduled to meet next week to discuss them further, but have now canceled that meeting.

The committee also held a meeting during the College Football Playoff week in Indianapolis earlier this year, but could not come up with a solution to the potential expansion. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey had this to say at the time:

“It was described that we’re in overtime. This may be a 9-overtime game where nobody can score a two-point conversation right now. But that doesn’t mean you stop. If nationally we were aligned, we wouldn’t have walked out of that meeting with people disappointed.”

(It should also be noted that by not voting to expand the Playoff to 12 teams, the committee passed on hundreds of millions of dollars more in ad revenue for the last two years of the current contract.)

Looks like overtime didn’t help and the four-team Playoff is declared a winner by default.

Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, released a statement about the decision this morning.

“The Board of Managers has accepted a recommendation from the Management Committee to continue the current four-team playoff for the next four years, as called for in the CFP’s original 12-year plan. At the same time, the Board expects the Management Committee to continue its discussions of a new format that would go into effect for the 2026-27 season.
“Even though the outcome did not lead to a recommendation for an early expansion before the end of the current 12-year contract, the discussions have been helpful and informative. I am sure they will serve as a useful guide for the Board of Managers and for the Management Committee as we determine what the Playoff will look like beginning in the 2026-2027 season.”
The group did submit a 12-team proposal to the committee, but all sides could not agree on the resolution, according to Hancock.
“I thank the working group for its hard work that resulted in the 12-team proposal, and the Management Committee for its thorough and diligent job reviewing it and other possible expansion ideas. This has been a long, careful, and detailed process that involved many people considering a complex matter. I am grateful to everyone for their dedication to college football and the detailed and deliberative effort everyone put into the consideration of a different format. I know the four-team event will continue to be successful.”
So now we wait. The expansion talks will likely continue in the years to come, but for right now the College Football Playoffs will remain at four teams until at least 2026.
We will continue monitoring the ongoing discussion at OutKick.
Follow: @TreyWallace_

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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