Oklahoma State Cowboys

Mike Gundy Questions SEC, Big Ten Favoritism in Proposed 14-Team College Football Playoff

Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy LP1D2021

As the conversations around another round of College Football Playoff expansion continues, many big-time coaches are reacting, and not very positively.

“A playoff format that guarantees a first-round bye to any team, division or conference before the season starts is unheard of in any sport as far as I’m aware,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said to ESPN on Friday. “Based on the premise proposed, a team could be undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country and still not receive a first-round bye because teams were awarded one before the season even began.”

 

While coaches won’t be the decision makers around this, their input will be valued, and for coaches like Mike Gundy to start speaking up vehemently against it is a good step in the right direction, unless you want to see the SEC and Big Ten bully their way into more power in college football.

According to Yahoo Sports‘ Ross Dellenger earlier in the week, there are conversations under consideration to expand the College Football Playoff to 14 teams, and include the following automatic bids: Three for the SEC and Big Ten, two for the Big 12 and ACC, one for the Group of 5 and then three at-large selections to the remaining highest-ranked teams.

The Big Ten and SEC would also see their conference champions get the only two byes in the 14-team format.

Dellenger cautioned that the proposal “is nowhere near finalized and is not the only format option that emerged from a meeting last week of the CFP Management Committee.” However, if this were finalized, it would begin for the 2026 college football season.

 

Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reported the Big Ten proposed getting four bids in the 14-team field.

These reports come days after the College Football Playoff committee decided to move from a 6+6 model on the 12-team playoff to a 5+7 model. Under the new 12-team playoff format, which will begin this fall, the four highest-ranked conference champions will each receive a first-round bye after being seeded one through four. Meanwhile, the teams seeded five through 12 will kick off the first round of the playoff, with the higher seed hosting the opening round game on their home field (#12 at #5; #11 at #6; #10 at #7; #9 at #8).

The quarterfinal and semifinal games will be hosted at the New Year’s Six bowl sites, while the National Championship Game will continue to be played at a neutral site as well.

As noted in the CFP release, no conference will qualify automatically, nor will there be a limit on the number of teams that one conference can have in the playoff.

The first round of the 2024 College Football Playoff will begin on Friday, December 20, with the National Championship concluding the playoff on Monday, January 20, 2025.

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