The College Football Playoff is set to grow to twelve teams in 2026 (or even earlier). The NCAA will select the teams as it has in the past but with a unique formula to assure consistency and fairness. The first games of the new system will be set for the second or third weekend of December. The first round games will be separated by 12 days from the conference championship games, and the top four seeds will receive a first-round bye. The new format will eliminate Notre Dame from qualifying for a first-round bye.
The College Football Playoff is set to expand to 12 teams by no later 2026, according to an agreement reached by the board of managers of the postseason tournament. The decision was unanimous and is a step toward a larger postseason field. The current playoff field features four teams. However, an expanded format would allow for 12 teams to compete in the championship game.
The 12-team format has been met with some opposition over the years. Last February, MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher and College Football Playoff President Bill Hancock spoke out against it during a meeting of the MAC’s media day. Despite the opposition, the 12-team model is expected to be implemented by 2026 or. However, the dates have not been finalized, and the committee will have to decide what the final decision will be.
The new format for the NCAA playoffs will include six conference champions and six at-large teams. The top four teams will receive first-round byes, while the top six teams will play each other in the first round. The remaining eight teams will play their first-round games at a higher seed’s stadium. The championship game would then be played at a neutral site.
In spite of some isolated criticism, the support for expansions has been overwhelming. This has been the desire of the vast majority of teams and fans. For most it is long overdue. One of the most interesting aspects of the expansion is that many bowl games that have little to know significance can be replaced with these playoff games. The jokes have been brutal – “The Consolation Bowl,” “The Toilet Bowl,” and “The Mediocre Bowl” will be replaced with games that matter.