College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams

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A committee meeting on a potential college football playoff expansion reached a milestone Friday when the 11 members of the governing board overseeing the event unanimously agreed to expand the playoff seats from four to 12. than the 2026 season.

The board, made up of 11 university presidents or presidents from 10 major conferences and Notre Dame, voted at a virtual meeting on Friday. It tends to have a four-round playoff model that includes the six highest-ranked league champions on the college football playoff selection committee, followed by the six highest-ranked regular teams outside of those league champions.

The approach would eliminate some of the most harrowing omissions in the annual selection process, including missing odd winners in the top five of the four-team playoffs, and the so-called G5 schools below the top five, where they have the most Good teams have been struggling for playoff berths, often undefeated records hampered by weaker schedules.

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“Beautiful day,” Mike Aresco, a commissioner for one of America’s five leagues, wrote in a text message, noting that “12 teams, 6-6 is the model we want. If we earn it, give it to us. access.”

Under the four-team concept over eight seasons, the ACC has missed a total of just one total (in 2021), missed the Big Ten twice, the Big Twelve four times, and the Pac-12 six times out of eight. The SEC has made all eight playoff games, including two for both teams.

The new format will begin in 2026 once the current 12-year contract expires, but allows another committee, the College Football Governing Council, to explore expansion for the 2024 or 2025 season. The committee consists of 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

Under the model issued by the Governing Council, the four top conference champions will receive first-round byes. This will bring eight first-round games on campus grounds in December, with the higher seed in each game serving as the host. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played at famous bowl venues and bear those names, while the finals will be played at selected neutral venues, just like the current four-team format.

“This is a historic and exciting day for college football,” Mississippi State University President and Board of Management Chairman Mark Keenum said in a statement.

15 months ago, a four-person panel recommended a 12-team playoffs similar to the approach approved on Friday, 8 months before three conference commissioners expressed concern about expansion at the time, 7 months later 8-3 Voting left the concept stagnant. Even when the gridlock and frustration with the gridlock occurred in January, Pac-12 commissioners George Kliavkoff and the A​​CC’s Jim Phillips publicly estimated a deal would be reached. Kliavkoff stressed that policymakers have time.Phillips said: “In year 13 [2026], we’ll make a deal, I’m sure. “

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They joined Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in opposing approval, and their reasons varied. Amid other changes to the sport, such as the NIL, the transfer portal and the re-enactment of the NCAA charter in January, the ACC has found the schedule to be busy. Pac-12 was concerned about maintaining the Rose Bowl’s prestige within any framework. The Top 10 wants a method where all division champions advance automatically, even if they have a lot of losses that usually disqualify the four-team playoffs, where no team has ever lost more than once.

The idea of ​​a postseason expansion has been buzzing 15 minutes (or maybe 14 minutes) since the current system launched in 2014, when the long-spotted championship-determining system finally shifted from one championship game to four. team. The expansion began in June 2021, when a four-person task force advocated a 12-team approach with six conference champions and six regular teams. The four, who studied the possibility on and off for two years, were Bob Bowlesby, then commissioner of the Big 12; Greg Sankey, then and current SEC commissioner; Craig Thompson ), Commissioner of the Mountain West, then and now; and Swarbrick of Notre Dame. It doesn’t include any of the three conferences to be held over the following winter, which publicly released its ideas, perhaps angering a few others.

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All the while, the Pac-12 says it supports all six models that weighed in last winter. By Friday, it declared itself “strongly supportive of the CFP expansion” as it provided “more access and excitement” and looked forward to “working with our other meetings to finalize important elements of expanding the CFP to launch as soon as practical .”

The ACC said it was “clear from the outset that it supported expansion” and said the board’s decision was “welcome”, while saying that “our cooperation over the past six months will serve us well as we address the prime minister’s important Details college football games.”

The Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 announced an alliance of mutual interest in August 2021, but by June 2022, the Big Ten had poached USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 to bring their members along Arriving coast to coast 16 schools continued to consider which teams might represent the conference as they realigned.

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