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Conference Realignment To Delay College Football Playoff Decisions

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The future format of the College Football Playoff remains in doubt because of conference realignment, according to CFP chairman Bill Hancock.

The commissioners of each FBS conference, along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, met in Dallas on Wednesday to discuss the future format of the 12-team playoff, which is supposed to start in 2024.  

The meeting included Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, who for now still has a job managing the league through its final season under its current configuration.


It’s that discombobulation, in part, that is holding up decision-making when it comes to how the 12-team playoff will be selected.

Another factor, per Hancock, is the reported discussions surrounding the ACC, which is entertaining expansion, with the most likely candidates being Cal, Stanford and SMU.

The Pac-12 is also trying to find a path forward, which could include either inviting teams from the American Athletic Conference or the Mountain West or some sort of merger with either, or both, leagues.

It’s entirely possible that by this time next year there won’t be 10 FBS conferences. That leaves decision-makers in a wait-and-see mode on determining how the new field will be selected.

“To the matter of conference realignment, we’re going to have to wait and see,” Hancock said. “We’re going to have to wait until the dust settles before making any decisions about how that might affect CFP. The fact is, we just don’t know yet. No one knows how conference realignment is going to wind up, and it would just be premature to make any decisions about it.”

Right now the new playoff is proposed to take the Top 6 conference champions, as ranked by the final CFP rankings, and then the Top 6 at-large teams in those rankings. With the near-destruction of the Pac-12, there is a belief that some commissioners may prefer a model that features the Top 5 conference champions and seven at-large berths.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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