12-Team Model Reportedly Most Likely As College Football Playoff Continues Expansion Talks

By Kevin Harrish on June 8, 2021 at 11:27 am
We could be seeing a 12-team playoff.

An expanded College Football Playoff seems inevitable at this point, but the leading expansion model might not be quite what most expected.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports, a 12-team model seems to be the most likely result at this time based on conversations with university officials, athletic directors, media executives and others around college sports.

The primary reason for favoring a 12-team model over an 8-team model seems to be that 12 allows for automatic bids while still offering more at-large bids.

The 12-team model would give each Power Five conference champion an automatic bid along with the highest-ranked Group of Five team. Though the details are far from finalized, the thought is that the top four teams would then get a bye, and seeds 5 through 8 would host seeds 9 through 12 at on-campus sites. The rest of the games could then be played at neutral bowl game sites.

It's worth noting that no formal change or even recommendation has been made, but that could happen within the next couple of months. On June 17 and 18, a working group that has spent the past two years exploring expansion will present its findings to the CFP management committee. That management committee will then provide a single recommendation to the CFP board of managers, made up of a group of university presidents and chancellors.

Things could still change before and there are still financial considerations, television factors, and other specifics yet to be considered, but momentum certainly seems to be moving towards a 12-team playoff.

“I do believe they’ve looked at all kinds of different things,” an industry source told Thamel. “But I haven’t even heard an option B discussed in any detail.”

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