The College Football Playoff management committee will consider expanding the current four-team field to a 12-team format when it meets in Chicago next week, marking the first step in what could be another historic change for the sport’s postseason.
The proposal does not include guarantees for conference champions. Instead, it calls for the bracket to include the six highest-ranked conference champions, plus the six highest-ranked other teams as determined by the CFP’s selection committee. There would be no limit on the number of participants from a conference, and no league would qualify automatically.
The 10 FBS commissioners and Swarbrick must agree on a format when they meet next Thursday and Friday to discuss the topic in person for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic. While the four members of the working group spent the past two years researching the possibilities to ultimately conclude that 12 teams provide the best opportunity, it’s still possible the seven other members of their group might support another format or take issue with the recommendation.
When asked what roadblocks might prevent the commissioners from agreeing on the 12-team proposal next week, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco told ESPN he thinks “it has a really good chance of developing a consensus.”
“I think it’s hard to attack it,” said Aresco. “I think it’s a well-thought-out plan. I really like the equalization concept, that all FBS have a shot. … I don’t think in that sense it has any flaws or weaknesses that would come to mind.”
Under the proposal for a 12-team format, the four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded 1-4 and receive a first-round bye. Teams 5-12 would play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team. The quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games and the national championship game would remain at a neutral site.