Rose Bowl Reportedly Reaches Agreement to Allow CFP to Expand to 12 Teams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 1, 2022

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 01: A view of the logo on the field prior to the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

There will reportedly be a 12-team College Football Playoff by the start of the 2024 season.

ESPN's Pete Thamel reported the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract to allow expansion to occur by the start of the 2024 campaign. The bowl game, which has a central place in college football history, was holding up the process and could have delayed it until 2026.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports explained the 10 FBS conferences, Notre Dame and the other New Year's Six Bowls were all in agreement on early expansion for 2024 and 2025. However, the Rose Bowl was "the lone holdout" in such negotiations because it wanted to keep its coveted 5 p.m. ET kickoff time slot on Jan. 1.

Dodd noted any agreement to expand the playoffs early ahead of the CFP's new media rights contract starting in 2026 needed to be unanimous.

One source said the Rose Bowl would have single-handedly "killed" early expansion if it didn't relent.

This development means the playoff system, which has featured just four teams since its inception starting with the 2014 campaign, will now be open to more participants. That is welcome news for those in favor of more schools getting opportunities and could open the door for Group of Five conferences and others to battle for a championship.

Cincinnati became the first Group of Five conference team to make the CFP field last season, although the Bearcats will be in a Power Five league by the time expansion arrives because it is set to join the Big 12.

Parity in college football has been a concern, especially during the CFP era.

In fact, 21 of the first 32 playoff spots went to Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma during the first eight years, underscoring just how dominant the four programs have been compared to the rest of the country.

While none of those teams are in the top four this season—with Ohio State and Alabama just on the outside at Nos. 5 and 6 and hoping for chaos during the conference championship games—an expanded field means there will be additional chances for other teams to compete for playoff spots deeper into the season.

The Rose Bowl was holding the process up, but that apparently is no longer the case.