It’s been close to a decade since college football waved goodbye to the BCS Era and welcome the College Football Playoff that’s been used to crown a national champion since the first four-team tournament was held to cap off the 2014-15 season.
The primary goal of the CFP was to give more teams a chance to compete for a title in the hopes it would diminish the controversy surrounding the process that was previously used to determine who was dubbed the best of the best (along with an unstated secondary goal of possibly prevented Alabama from appearing in the de facto championship game every single year).
However, what seemed like a good idea in theory hasn’t necessarily worked out in practice. There’s arguably been more debate concerning which teams have earned the right to compete than there was prior to their introduction, and over the past eight years, Alabama has been one of the last two schools standing on six different occasions and walked away with the trophy three times.
That reality has led to a push to expand the CFP, and last summer, a subcommittee tasked with dreaming up a potential solution floated the concept of a 12-team playoff. Earlier this year, director Bill Hancock stated it was unlikely any changes would be instated prior to 2026, but this week, reports surfaced that suggested the timeline could be pushed up and that an official announcement was imminent.
On Friday, we got confirmation confirming one of those facets, as Pete Thamel of ESPN reports the CFP has officially voted to approve the 12-team playoff that is currently en route to rolling out in 2026 (although that could ultimately change).
The 12-team model is expected to start in 2026, after the current contract, according to a source. There's still a chance that it could go earlier, but those details are complicated and would take some time to work out. https://t.co/sRWlmiDvbe
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 2, 2022
Several sources told me Thursday that 2024 would be very difficult to pull off for expanded CFP. Could see 2025 as a likelier option. If it’s 2026, everything just starts over with a new format. As one source just said, “We will try and make it happen soon.”
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) September 2, 2022
It’s not entirely clear what the format will look like. A proposal that was floated in 2021 would give the six highest-ranked conference champions an automatic bid and reserve six more at-large spots for other contenders, and the nature of a 12-team bracket means it’s likely a group of the best squads would receive automatic byes.
However, what is clear is that college football fans aren’t entirely sure how to feel.
Plenty of fans have voiced their support for a move that would theoretically give more teams a shot at a championship
Based on the initial reactions, there’s no shortage of fans who are all in.
A 12 team college football playoff is going to be incredibly exciting for the sport.
6 highest ranked conference champions, six at large teams.
Amazing day for sports fans
— Vinnie Parise (@VinnieParise) September 2, 2022
The current College Football Playoff of course isn’t a true playoff as FBS teams have literally gone undefeated and not reached the CFP. The 12-team format will be the first iteration of any legitimate playoff in FBS history.
A huge win for college football fans.
— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) September 2, 2022
All of us hearing college football is moving to a 12-team playoff… pic.twitter.com/jgqNe6eBIn
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 2, 2022
Others are a bit more skeptical but seem open to the move.
Bob Bowlsby said this last summer about the 12-team format, and I generally agree. More CFP access means more teams and more games matter in November. I find that exciting. pic.twitter.com/xCDUbI82VD
— Max Olson (@max_olson) September 2, 2022
12 teams seems like too much for a college football playoff after last year, but I'm open to it. https://t.co/FqMfm03hR8
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 2, 2022
Others seem to think expanding to 12 teams will only delay the inevitable and have aired various grievances
For example, Darren Rovell seems to think the expansion could diminish the importance of the regular season.
“It just means less.”
Potential new motto for college football regular season with 12-team playoff on the horizon.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 2, 2022
Others have also implied the worst teams won’t stand a fighting chance and that there’s a very good possibility the last four teams remaining will end up being the first four who would’ve received an invite prior to expansion.
We walk through the Playoff Committee's 12-team college football playoff proposal using FEI ratings:
– 7 of 11 games are blowouts
– 4 of 11 games are rematches
– Baylor as an AQ 4-seed breaks everything
– Blue bloods (Georgia, Bama, Ohio State, ND) benefit
It isn't a fun result. pic.twitter.com/hnmFnHtcKo
— College Football Nerds (@CFBNerds) September 1, 2022
Half the SEC seeing each other in the 12-team College Football Playoff bracket pic.twitter.com/we57J3poAD
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) September 2, 2022
The undefeated MAC and Sun Belt champions showing up to the 12-team CFP to take on Ohio State and Georgia in the first round. pic.twitter.com/V9BvJMGEjY
— Ben Stevens (@BenScottStevens) September 2, 2022
I guess we’ll just have to wait until 2026 (or possibly sooner) to find out for sure.
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