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College Football Playoff to consider expanding to 12-team format

The College Football Playoff Management Committee will consider expanding to a 12-team format when it meets in Chicago next week, marking the first step in what could be another historic change for the sport’s post season.

The proposal, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, calls for the seizure to include the six highest-ranked conference champions and the six remaining highest-ranked teams as determined by the CFP selection committee.

“No conference would qualify automatically and there would be no limit to the number of participants from a conference,” the proposal states.

The proposal, written by a subcommittee of Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, is just the first step in a long process.

The 10 FBS commissioners and Swarbrick must agree on a format when they meet June 17-18 to discuss the topic in person for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic. While the four members of the working group have spent the last two years exploring the possibilities of ultimately concluding that 12 teams provide the best opportunity, it is possible that the other seven members of the management committee support a different format.

Under the proposal for a 12-team format, the four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded 1-4 and receive a first-round farewell. Teams 5-12 played each other in the first round at the home of the higher ranked team. The quarterfinals and semifinals were played in bowling games and the national championship match would remain in a neutral place.

If the group reaches consensus, it will present the plan to the 11 presidents and chancellors who make up the CFP’s board of directors at a meeting in Dallas on June 22. If the board approves the plan, commissioners and Swarbrick will spend the summer figuring out how to implement it – and when.

Another meeting is scheduled for September, and any changes to the format will eventually be made by the Presidents and Chancellors.

CFP CEO Bill Hancock has said the playoffs will not be expanded this year or next year. The current 12-year deal runs through the 2025-26 season.

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