Sports

Change is coming to CFP; what will it look like?


That’s about to change in the next College Football Playoff.

Get ready for more automatic qualifiers.

During a nine-hour meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, CFP leaders discussed a new playoff format that would include multiple automatic qualifiers for four power conferences in a 14-team format — This was an expected move by the SEC and part of the Big Ten’s push for more access. No final decision has been made on the format of the game, but the CFP Governing Council, the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic directors discussed a number of options for expanding the AQ structure.

It is now expected that the models will be further tested and communicated to coalition leaders.

Multiple iterations of the AQ structure were proposed, awarding varying amounts of automatic bids to the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big 12, according to people familiar with the matter. The Group of Five retains its unique automatic qualifying spots in several events. As many as 12 automatic qualifiers are discussed among the 14 teams, with the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the playoffs receiving byes.

As Yahoo Sports previously reported, Big Ten expected to seek as many as four automatic qualifiers Executive Director Bill Hancock said the meeting was productive — a sign of compromise and collaboration on modifications to the current format.

In the 2024 and 2025 playoffs, the CFP will adopt a 5+7 12-team format. The five highest-ranked division champions will automatically qualify, while the lower-ranked seven teams will receive ordinary seats. The wave of realignments that swept the sport last summer sparked momentum to expand leagues, especially the SEC and Big Ten, which would include 34 teams and many of the sport’s biggest brands.

Under the current format, a 14-team add-on playoff bracket would likely be played at the home court of the higher-seeded team. In the current 12-team format, the four highest-ranked conference champions receive byes, while the seeded teams receive byes. In the first round, teams seeded 5-8 will play against teams seeded 9-12. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held at the bowl game venue.

More automatic qualifying bids could increase the value of the regular season as teams compete for their spot in the conference standings. AQ also removes subjectivity from the CFP selection committee, which was criticized last season for excluding ACC champion Florida State.

However, a large number of AQs – whether four, three or two – could remove some of the incentive to host a conference championship game. Division standings are expected to determine AQ, with the division championship game — currently — included in that formula. s future Expanding league title contention in playoffs is an issue Yahoo Sports is exploring In a report in December, several CFP and university leaders acknowledged the need for a deeper review of the championship game.

CFP leaders are working on a somewhat tight timeline. The 10 FBS leagues and Notre Dame are tied together through a CFP television contract with ESPN that expires after the 2025 playoffs. Despite talks with ESPN to extend dealno agreement has been reached, largely because of several unresolved issues, including the format of the playoffs beyond 2025 and a revenue-sharing model.

Hancock said such issues would need to be resolved within a month.



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