Report: CFP Board Votes to Expand College Football Playoff to 12 Teams

Adam WellsSeptember 2, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 10: Georgia Bulldogs PK Jared Zirkel (99) holds up and celebrates with the National Championship Trophy after the Alabama Crimson Tide versus the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship, on January 10, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.  (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The College Football Playoff field will expand to 12 teams.

Per ESPN's Pete Thamel, the CFP board of managers approved the 12-team format in a vote Friday that is expected to be enacted for the 2026 season.

The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach noted the vote was unanimous among the 11 managers.

According to Auerbach, the 12-team field will be determined by the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams. She added there remain "a lot of details left to work out to see if it can be implemented before 2026."

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

But, I will say, this source says they would like to see the 12-team CFP implemented "as soon as possible."

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

The most significant new detail (it had been discussed): Quarterfinal bowl hosts will be determined in part by conference tie-ins.<br><br>I.e, if the Big Ten or Pac-12 champ is the No. 1 seed, and the Rose Bowl is a quarterfinal that year, it gets that team.

Thamel and Heather Dinich reported on Wednesday there was "definitely momentum" building toward playoff expansion possibly as soon as 2024 if the College Football Playoff management committee unanimously approves it at a meeting expected to take place next week.

The 11-person management committee is composed of the 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

A February vote about expanding the playoff to 12 teams did receive majority support from the board of managers, but the final 8-3 tally failed to meet the requirement of a unanimous vote needed to potentially implement the expansion for the 2024 season.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told Dinich at the time that the format would remain at four teams through the end of its current television deal with ESPN. The contract runs through the 2025 season.

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12—three conferences that formed an alliance in the wake of multiple programs announcing moves to different leagues, most notably Oklahoma and Texas going to the SEC—were the three "no" votes on expansion.

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff sang a different tune when talking about expansion during the conference's media days in July.

"I'm really confident that we're going to expand the College Football Playoff," Kliavkoff told Thamel and Dinich. "It actually wouldn't surprise me once we agree on the format, if it happens before the end of the current term. Once you agree to the format, why wouldn't you?"

The College Football Playoff was first implemented for the 2014 season. It has used a four-team format, with participants determined by a 13-member selection committee, since being adopted.

Prior to the playoff being used to determine a national champion, FBS had used the Bowl Championship Series since 1998, with the top two teams as determined by a combination of national polls and computer analytics.


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