Big 12's Bob Bowlsby: CFP Expansion by 2024 'Is in Some Jeopardy at This Point'

Adam WellsDecember 4, 2021

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP Photo/LM Otero

The hope for expanding the College Football Playoff within the next three years could be fading. 

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is also on the CFP board of managers, told reporters on Saturday that expanding the field by 2024 "is in some jeopardy at this point."

"We’ve really been on the clock," he added. "It’s also a possibility we wouldn’t be able to do it in (2025)."

ESPN's Heather Dinich reported on Wednesday that CFP staff members had reserved a hotel meeting room to potentially announce they would be expanding the playoff field. 

Instead, according to Dinich, talks broke up by the early afternoon with no agreement in place, and the press conference never happened. There is another meeting set for January prior to the College Football Playoff Championship game to discuss things. 

"I thought there was a chance we'd get to the end today," Bowlsby said Wednesday. "We didn't, and there were good and appropriate reasons why we didn't."

CFP executive director Bill Hancock told reporters last month that a unanimous agreement from the 11 members of board of managers is needed by January if expansion is going to be implemented in 2024. 

Per Dinich, unanimity is needed because the current contract with ESPN for the College Football Playoff was signed by all 11 members and doesn't expire until after the 2025 season. 

There's been no official indication on what level of expansion is being discussed, but the most widely reported format would feature either eight or 12 programs.

Per The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach, one version of the 12-team format proposed by the Alliance—ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12—would "guarantee access for each Power 5 conference champion."

The current playoff format features four teams, which are determined by a 13-member committee that releases a weekly top-25 ranking starting in early November. 

This year's College Football Playoff field will be announced on Sunday. The College Football Playoff National Championship will be played on Jan. 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.