The College Football Playoff is likely to expand, but if it doesn’t move to 12 teams, don’t expect to see six or eight teams as an option, according to a new report from SI.com.
Sports Illustrated had an extensive report discussing expansion and according to their sources, at this point, “It’s 12 [teams] or back to four,” one athletic director with knowledge of the discussions told SI.
So now the question is, what are the details around getting to 12? Apparently it revolves around how to decide who those 12 teams are. Also in the report was the news that an updated proposal “introduced a new alternate 12-team postseason model that guarantees a berth to each Power 5 champion.”
In this new model, the sixth automatic bid would go to the highest-ranked Group of Five champion, completing the “5+1 model,”. The final six schools would be at-large selections based on the final College Football Playoff rankings.
This is a change from the originally-proposed 12-team model, which would have given automatic bids to the six highest-ranked conference champions, regardless of league. While it’s likely that would have included the Power 5 conferences most of the that, it would not have been a lock, like even as recently as last year. If used with last year’s standings, Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina, representing the AAC and Sun Belt, would have been in over Pac-12 champion Oregon.
This also is good news for the Big 12, which will still be considered a “Power 5” league and would get an automatic bid.
And if that holds, then frankly, it could make this move by Oklahoma and Texas all that more head-scratching in some respects, as their path to a conference championships undoubtedly got more difficult with the move.
The Big 12, which was on the brink just before the season kicked off, has rallied to the point where the league is back to being considered a Power 5 program. For all the grief many of us, myself included, have given Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, this is a highly-encouraging sign for the league as it looks to the future.