College Football Playoff Will Not Expand Beyond Four Teams Until At Least 2026

By Dan Hope on February 18, 2022 at 11:11 am
College Football Playoff

The College Football Playoff will not expand for at least four more years.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement released Friday that the CFP’s current four-team structure will remain in place through at least the 2025 season, the final year of the CFP’s existing television contract with ESPN.

The CFP’s Board of Managers and Management Committee will continue to discuss options for expanding the playoff that could begin in the 2026 season.

“The Board of Managers has accepted a recommendation from the Management Committee to continue the current four-team playoff for the next four years, as called for in the CFP's original 12-year plan. At the same time, the Board expects the Management Committee to continue its discussions of a new format that would go into effect for the 2026-27 season.

“Even though the outcome did not lead to a recommendation for an early expansion before the end of the current 12-year contract, the discussions have been helpful and informative. I am sure they will serve as a useful guide for the Board of Managers and for the Management Committee as we determine what the Playoff will look like beginning in the 2026-2027 season.”

The Big Ten was reportedly one of three conferences that voted against expanding the College Football Playoff sooner along with the ACC and Pac-12, the two conferences the Big Ten formed an alliance with in August.

That said, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press that the Big Ten is in favor of future playoff expansion.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Wednesday he will be surprised if the playoff does not eventually expand to 12 teams, though Smith said he did not know when that would happen, citing concerns raised by ACC commissioner Jim Phillips last month.

“I think we're gonna expand ... I'll be surprised if we don't go to 12 at some point. I think there's things that just need to be solved and worked out,” Smith said. “So I think we're gonna get there, I just think we just got to keep working through these little interests that each conference has, and some people will have to sacrifice and give up some of those interests. It’s a negotiation. So I think we'll get there. I hope we get there because I think it's a cool thing, I really do.”

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