College Football Playoff Heading Towards Major Expansion

The College Football Playoff will likely be getting larger very soon. According to ESPN, the CFP management committee will consider expanding the current four-team format to a 12-team field when it meets in Chicago next week. The proposed playoff will include the six highest-ranked conference champions along with the six highest-ranked other teams, which will be determined by the selection committee.

In order for this to be approved, the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick have to agree on the format when they meet June 17-18. The proposal was written by a subcommittee that includes Swarbrick, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. The four have worked the last two years on researching the possibilities to expand the playoffs to 12.

"The four-team format has been very popular and is a big success, the four members said in a statement. "But it's important that we consider the opportunity for more teams and more student-athletes to participate in the playoff. After reviewing numerous options, we believe this proposal is the best option to increase participation, enhance the regular season and grow the national excitement of college football."

In the 12-team playoff format, the four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded 1-4 and would receive a first-round bye. The teams that are ranked 5-12 would play each other in the first round, with the higher-seeded team having home-field advantage. The quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games, and the national championship game would still be played at a neutral location. The first-round games will be played on campus during the two-week period following the conference title games. Jan. 1 or Jan. 2 would be the day when the quarterfinals will be played.

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If the members of the group agree to the format, they will then present the plan to the 11 presidents and chancellors who make up the CFP's board of managers at a meeting in Dallas on June 22. If it gets approved then, the commissioners and Swarbrick can determine how and when to implement the plan.

If the 12-team playoff was implemented in 2020, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame would be the four times with a first-round bye since they were the top four teams in the CFP rankings. The first-round matchups would be Texas A&M vs. Coastal Carolina, Oklahoma vs. Indiana, Florida vs. Iowa State and Cincinnati vs. Georgia.