The inevitable is now official — the College Football Playoff is expanding. You knew four teams wouldn’t last forever, the only question was how much the Playoff expanded. We now have our answer.
Per an official announcement today, the new College Football Playoff field will consist of 12 teams. The six highest-ranked conference champions and the six highest-ranked at-large teams.
.@CFBPlayoff officially announces 12-team playoff will begin in 2026, unless earlier implementation is possible. Field will consist of 6 highest-ranked conference champions & 6 highest-ranked at-large teams. 1st-round on campus, quarterfinals & semifinals at bowl sites— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 2, 2022
Here are the details, per the release.
The 12 teams will be the six conference champions ranked highest by the selection committee (no minimum ranking requirement), plus the six highest-ranked teams not included among the six highest-ranked conference champions.
The ranking of the teams will continue to be done by a selection committee whose size, composition, and method of selection will remain substantially unchanged. The Management Committee will modify the selection protocol as required by the change to the playoff structure.
The four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded one through four and each will receive a first-round bye.
The other eight teams will play in the first round with the higher seeds hosting the lower seeds either on campus or at other sites designated by the higher-seeded institution (No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8.)
The model allows for first-round games to be played on either the second or third weekend in December in a way that best accommodates the format and the participating teams, with at least 12 days between the conference championship games and the first-round games. The Management Committee would make the final determination of the calendar.
Subject to reaching agreement with bowls, the four quarterfinal games and two Playoff Semifinal games would be played in bowls on a rotating basis.
The national championship game will continue to be played at a neutral site.
Obviously an important note here — 2026 was the date given, “unless earlier implementation is possible.”
Another huge note — the first round games will be played on campus.
This was always going to happen, there’s plenty of money to be made here. Adding eight games is a big change though. Here’s how it would have looked last season.
Last season’s CFP picture with 12 pic.twitter.com/1Ztga20sDe— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 2, 2022
Would anything have truly changed? Obviously Alabama and Georgia would meet in the semifinal rounds, but the winner there is still extremely likely to be you champion. The bracket also gave us a pretty interesting Big Ten gaggle in the 2-7-10 spot.
What are your thoughts on the move?