CFP Committee Exploring Expansion Options, Including 16-Team Playoff Format

CFP Committee Exploring Expansion Options, Including 16-Team Playoff Format

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The NCAA College Football Playoff committee heard from a working group exploring potential changes to the four-team format at its annual spring meeting this week, with the group reviewing multiple options including a field of up to 16 teams, executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement

In all, the working group comprised of four CFP committee members has reviewed 63 proposals for change with six-, eight-, 10-, 12 and 16-team options for the postseason tournament. No change to the four-team playoff appears imminent, however, as the working group is continuing to review options, and the committee reaffirmed its belief in the four-team format. 

“I want to remind everyone that whatever recommendations the management committee may make, all decisions about our future format—whether to remain at four teams or change to a different format—will be made by the 11 presidents and chancellors who manage the CFP,” Hancock said.

Any potential changes to the format are unlikely to take place until after the current CFP agreement expires in four years, Hancock told ESPN’s Heather Dinich

“There will not be a new format this season or next season,” Hancock said. “The timetable is certainly an important detail, but it hasn’t been determined yet. It’s too soon to predict the timing, but even if the board decides to alter the format, it may well not occur until after the current agreement has expired, which isn’t until after the 2025 season.”

Per Dinich:

“The CFP has set up a working group of four management committee members—Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Notre Dame [athletic director Jack] Swarbrick. They are expected to make a report to the entire management committee about the future format at the CFP’s next meeting, which could be this summer. If there is a model the entire group supports, the committee will present it to the CFP board of managers, who have the ultimate authority over the playoff format”

That would still require the approval of the 11 presidents and chancellors before any changes are enacted. 

Thompson previously told ESPN he believes expansion of the CFP is “inevitable” while American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco believes expansion would help both Group of 5 and Power 5 programs. 

Colorado chancellor Philip P. DiStefano agrees that expansion is worth exploring and believes it could be in the CFP’s best interest, pending more input. 

“I’d really like to see the pros and cons and weigh those before making a final decision,” DiStefano told Dinich. “But I do think that expansion is probably going to happen in the near future.”

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