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Report: CFP to Remain at 4 Teams Until At Least 2026 Despite Expansion Discussions

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 18, 2022

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Despite pressure to expand the College Football Playoff, the tournament to determine college football's national champion will reportedly remain at four teams for the foreseeable future.

According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic on Friday, the CFP will not change its four-team format for the remainder of its contract, which does not expire until the end of the 2025 season.

Auerbach noted that while a meeting involving commissioners and presidents from conferences and universities had been scheduled for March 2 in Dallas, it was called off because of how divided the parties have been on the subject of CFP expansion.


The College Football Playoff announced in June that a 12-team event had been proposed. Under that format, the four highest-ranked conference champions would have received first-round byes with seed Nos. 5 through 12 playing for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Nothing was finalized, however, and ESPN's Heather Dinich reported that the inability to expand the CFP will cost the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame $450 million in potential revenue.

Dinich added that a videoconference took place Wednesday with the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. When they were unable to nail down specifics related to an expanded CFP, they recommended to the College Football Playoff's board of managers that the tournament remain at four teams for the next four seasons at least.

Despite the breakdown in negotiations, CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock expressed optimism for expansion under the next contract beginning in 2026 and said there is "more than enough time" to hammer out the details.

The College Football Playoff was first implemented for the 2014 season, replacing the much-maligned BCS system.

Under the CFP, a committee ranks the teams, and the top four at the end of the season are chosen to be part of the playoff.

The SEC has largely dominated the CFP during its existence, winning five of the eight national championships, including each of the past three. Last season saw an all-SEC championship game as Georgia beat Alabama 33-18.

There traditionally hasn't been much representation for conferences other than the SEC, ACC and Big Ten in the CFP, which is part of the reason why expansion has been proposed.

Last season, a non-Power Five team finally made the College Football Playoff field in the form of Cincinnati.

While Hancock's comments suggest CFP expansion is desired and will continue to be a major point of discussion, there is no immediate end in sight to the format that has been in place for the past eight years.

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