College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams early 2024


A crowd and slew of committee meetings over a potential expansion of the college football game found its way to a milestone Friday, when the 11-member Board of Directors overseeing the event unanimously agreed to expand a long debate for playoff periods 4 to 12 later. From the 2026 season.

The council, made up of 11 university presidents or chancellors from among the top 10 conferences plus Notre Dame, voted in a virtual meeting on Friday. I preferred a model of a four-round playoff featuring the six highest-rated Conference Champions by the College Football Selection Committee, and then the six top teams with the highest ratings other than the Conference Champions.

This method will eliminate the annual selection process for some painful omissions, including the Power Five singles conference winners who missed a four-team playoff, and the so-called Group Five under the Power Five. , whose top teams struggled for playoff places with unbeaten records often hampered by weaker schedules.

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“Great day,” Mike Aresco, commissioner for one of the Group of Five tournaments, the American Athletic Conference, wrote in a text message, noting that “12 teams, 6-6 is the model we wanted. It gives us access if we win it.”

Under the four-team concept over eight seasons, the ACC has lost completely only once (in 2021), once in the Big Ten twice, Big 12 four times, and Pac-12 six times out of eight. The SEC made it to all eight playoffs, including twice with two teams.

The new format is set to begin in 2026, once the current 12-year contract expires, but it allows another committee, the College Football Management Committee, to explore expansion for either the 2024 or 2025 seasons. This committee is made up of the 10 conference delegates as well as Notre Dame sporting director Jacques Swarbrick.

According to the model released by the Board of Directors, the four highest-ranked conference champions will bid farewell to the first round. That will lead to eight first-round matches at campus locations in December, with the top seed hosted in each game. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will take place at the locations of the famous bowling games, which bear those names, while the final will take place at a selected neutral location, as is now happening with the team of four.

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

It came 15 months after a four-man panel recommended a 12-team playoff along the lines of Friday, eight months after three commissioners voiced concerns about expansion at the time and seven months after an 8-3 vote to leave the team. stop concept. Even in January amid stalemate and frustration over the stalemate, commissioners George Klyavkov of the Pac-12 and Jim Phillips of the ACC publicly believed that an agreement would come. Klyavkov emphasized that decision makers have time. Phillips said, “In the year 13 [2026]We’ll have a deal, I’m sure.”

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They joined Commissioner Kevin Warren of the Big Ten in opposing the green light, and their reasons varied. The ACC found the timing frantic amid other changes in the sport such as the NIL, the transfer portal, and the rewrite of the NCAA constitution in January. The Pac-12 was concerned about retaining the Rose Bowl’s reputation in any setting. The Big Ten wanted a way in which all conference champions would automatically qualify, even if they suffered a number of losses that would normally not qualify for the four-team playoffs, and that never presented a team with more than one loss.

The idea of ​​expanding the chatter matches was born roughly 15 minutes ago — or maybe 14 — after the current system was introduced in 2014, when the long-running champion selection system finally moved from a single championship game to the four-team category. The expansion began in June 2021, when the four-person working group called for a 12-team modality of six Conference Champions and six big teams. The four men, who studied the possibilities sporadically for two years, were Bob Paulsby, the Big 12 commissioner; Greg Sankey, then and now commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Craig Thompson, Mountain West Commissioner then and now; and Swarbrick of Notre Dame. It included none of the three conferences that would have rejected the following winter’s meetings, and released its ideas publicly, perhaps to the ire of some.

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Throughout, the Pac-12 has stated that it prefers all six models weighed this past winter. By Friday, it announced that it “strongly supports the expansion of CFP” as it provided “increased reach and excitement” and looked forward to “working with our conference colleagues to finalize important elements of the expanded CFP in order to launch it as soon as possible.”

The ACC stated that it “was clear from the start that it supported the expansion” and called the Board of Directors’ decision “welcome” while saying: “Our cooperation over the past six months will serve us well as we address the important details of the premier college football event.”

The Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 announced a coalition of common interests in August 2021, but by June 2022, the Big Ten had poached Southern California and UCLA from Pac-12 to bring its membership to 16 schools from coast to coast as reorganization continued in the Identify teams that may represent conferences.

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