The college football playoff is expanding from four teams to 12 teams, ESPN’s Pete Thamel first reported Friday afternoon.
The 12-team playoff is expected to begin in 2026 when the contract for the current four-team playoff runs out.
According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, the presidents voted in favor of automatic bids for the sixth highest ranked conference champions and six more at large bids. That includes automatic bids for the champions of the power five conferences and one group of five conference.
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The College Football Playoff began in 2014 when Ohio State defeated Oregon to win the National Championship.
There’s been an abundance of criticism over the lack of parody in college football with the same teams being frequent playoff contenders. Expanding the playoff opens up the opportunity for more teams to make the playoffs but more importantly guarantees the teams who frequent the four-team college football playoff will always make the 12-team playoff.
There’s now little path for programs like Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State to ever miss the playoffs, no matter how they perform in the regular season.
Expanding the playoff continues the theme of radical chance in the college sports landscape. From the transfer portal to NIL to conference realignment, college sports will soon look radically different than it did a decade ago.