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College Football Playoff management committee recommends expansion to 12 teams

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The long-time rumor is on its way to coming to pass.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 CFP Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So, it is starting to sound like the ol’ College Football Playoff is going to be expanding pretty soon. According to a press release that used a lot of words to say a little stuff, “a sub-group of College Football Playoff’s (CFP) management committee today presented a proposal to change the current four-team format to a 12-team event.”

If this sounds, to you, like a decision is going to be made soon about this, ho ho my friend, think again! Not only will a decision not be made until, at the earliest, this fall. There are, like, four more committees or groups that have to meet this summer before anything starts to be decided. “If the board authorizes this summer study period, the board would meet again in September to review the results of the summer assessments and also the input from presidents, athletics directors, coaches, student-athletes and others,” the release said.

Executive Director of the CFP Bill Hancock noted that the format will not change this year or next year and the current agreements for the four-team CFP extend through the 2025-26 season. Hancock went on to say:

“Now that the working group has presented its proposal, the management committee will solicit input from university presidents, coaches, athletics directors, student-athletes and others. That input will help inform what the management committee recommends to the ultimate decision-makers — the presidents and chancellors who serve on the board of managers. I do want to remind you that the final decision will be made by the board of managers, and that decision will not come before this fall.”

Here is the breakdown of what the new 12-team CFP would look like.

  • The four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded one through four and each would receive a first-round bye.
  • The teams seeded five through 12 would play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team. (The team ranked No. 5 would host No. 12; team No. 6 would meet team No. 11; team No. 7 would play team No. 10; and team No. 8 would meet No. 9.).
  • Under the proposal, the quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games. The championship game would continue to be at a neutral site, as under the current format.
  • First-round games would take place on campus 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.
  • Semifinals and championship game dates are to be determined; semifinals likely will not be played as a doubleheader.
  • 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).
  • 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.

In a hilarious turn of events, FBS independents, like Notre Dame for example, can’t receive a bye because they can’t win a conference championship despite Notre Dame’s athletic director Jack Swarbrick being one of the four members of the working group.

Anyways, this is probably a good thing for the Wisconsin Badgers football program. They are consistently a top-15 team in the country and if this becomes the new normal than they’ll have a much higher probability of making the Playoff. We’ll have more thoughts later today on this via a classic B5Q roundtable.