On Friday, the College Football Playoff's board of managers voted unanimously to expand the College Football Playoff to 12 teams. This change would take effect in 2026, but the board is encouraging the sport's commissioners to try to have the changes in place as soon as 2024.
The 11 college presidents and chancellors that sit on the board approved the 12 team model, including the six highest-ranked conference champions, as well as six at-large teams, according to Heather Dinich of ESPN.
"This is an historic and exciting day for college football," said Mark Keenum, the president of Mississippi State and chairman of the CFP Board of Managers. "More teams, more participation and more excitement are good for our fans, alumni, and student-athletes. I'm grateful to my colleagues on the board for their thoughtful approach to this issue and for their resolve to get expansion across the goal line and for the extensive work of the Management Committee that made this decision possible."
The team rankings will continue to be determined by the CFP selection committee. According to reports, the four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded one through four, with each team receiving a first-round bye. The next teams will be seeded five through 12 and will play each other in the first round. These games would take place on either the second or third weekend of December. Afterward, the quarterfinal and semifinal games would be played in bowl games. The bowl games would be on a rotating basis, with the championship game at a neutral site.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this new format will affect college football heading forward. Many teams who never had a chance of making the CFP May now begin to play tougher out of conference opponents, in hopes of getting tanked high enough to receive an at-large bid. This is potentially good news for a team like Kentucky, who plays in the gauntlet that is the SEC. A nine or ten win regular season playing in the SEC might be enough to grab an at-large bid. If there wasn’t reason enough to be excited about the direction of Kentucky Football, there certainly is now!