Good news for college football and for BC today, as the College Football Playoff board of managers voted to expand the playoffs to 12 teams. This change is scheduled for 2026, though theoretically may happen as soon as 2024.
Crucially, the expanded playoff would include six autobids, for the six highest ranked conference champions, in addition to six at large teams.
“There are still quite a few issues that have to be resolved — some very obvious logistical issues that have to be resolved — but our hope is that we can get [the commissioners] to move on this as quickly as it is possible to do so,” said Mississippi State president Mark Keenum, chair of the CFP’s board of managers. “We have asked our commissioners, the management committee, to explore the possibility of us beginning the 12-team playoff format before the 2026 season, in either 2024 or 2025.”
The 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick will meet next Thursday in Irving, Texas, to begin discussions on possibly implementing the format as early as 2024.
The rankings of the teams will continue to be determined by the CFP selection committee, which will remain largely unchanged.
As a group we’ll talk more about this and react to it once we’ve had time to digest it, but the immediate reaction here is that this is obviously good news for BC... putting aside the likelihood or lack thereof of being one of the 12 teams.
This adds some clarity to the coming college football realignment; while the SEC and Big Ten will likely dominate and eventually come to supply just about all the at large bids, conferences just below them will remain relevant and connected to the national college football storyline.
This means even if the ACC loses its top few members, it will likely still be an important conference with a pathway in to the CFP.
Because of this, it’s easier to envision many more positive realignment scenarios for BC that don’t result in an experience similar to current mid-tier conferences - i.e., out of sight, out of mind, bleeding money.
On the flip side, this is also a win for the powerhouses; in a world where the Big Ten and SEC expand to 18-20 powerful teams, this likely means 6-8 of them making the playoff every year rather than 3... keeping more of those fanbases engaged, since nobody used to rooting for the hammer likes being the nail.
More reactions to follow.