College Football Playoff reveals its 12-team expansion details

Here’s everything you need to know about expanding the College Football Playoffs to 12 teams.

With the college football playoff Expansion to 12 teamshere’s what you need to know about it.

The CFP Board of Directors met virtually on Friday and unanimously approved Expansion to a 12-team format. It begins in the 2026 college football season once the playoffs TV deal with ESPN expires. The College Football Management Committee (10 conference commissioners plus Notre Dame athletic director) will discuss the possibility of introducing the new format even earlier.

The absolute earliest this new format could adopt is 2024, but 2026 is the most likely outcome, with 2025 also a possibility.

“This is a historic and exciting day for college football,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum and CFB Board Chairman said in a statement. “More teams, more participation and more excitement is good for our fans, alumni and student athletes. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board for their thoughtful approach to this issue and for their determination to take expansion across the goal line and for the extensive work of the Management Committee that made this decision possible.”

The CFP Governing Board presented several proponents, which they endorsed at their Friday meeting.

College Football Playoff 12 Team Extension Details

The 12 teams that make the playoffs are the six top-ranked conference champions and six teams at large. The ranking process remains the same as it has been for the past eight years, but takes into account the new eligibility requirements. What you can clearly see here is that no distinction between Power Five or Group of Five was mentioned. So these labels are officially dead after that.

The top four ranked conference champions will receive a bye into the national quarterfinals in the first round. Pending future agreement with the bowl system, the quarterfinals and semifinals will essentially become the New Year’s Six. The main difference is that teams one through four either pick or are assigned their bowl game (e.g. Pac-12 champion gets the Rose Bowl).

As for teams five through twelve, they will likely play games on campus at the higher seeded team’s pitch. #5 will house #12, #6 will house #11, and so on. There is also a clause stating that a higher ranked team may use another designated location for that first round match. For example, a smaller school can technically play at a larger one nearby NFL Stadium is that they were the higher seed.

Three other notable things are that higher-seeded players are given preferential treatment in their domestic semi-final venues, with the top four-seeded conference champions being assigned to their domestic quarter-final opponents depending on how the group shakes and what those first-round games won’t have over-the-top signage since it will feel like a home game in the regular season.

Again, nothing the board has agreed on is quite as shocking. The only thing that really moves the needle is the notion of essentially six automatic qualifiers. It’s not per se, but the sixth-best conference champion is intimidated there over what will otherwise likely be a top-10 team. Anyway, college football is changing and you better prepare for it.

Don’t worry, you have at least two years before this new playoff system comes into effect.

For more NCAA football News, analysis, opinion and unique coverage from FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff Rankings, make sure to bookmark these pages. College Football Playoff reveals its 12-team expansion details

John Verrall

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