The college football postseason appears to moving to the old NFL postseason model.
Since its creation in 2014, the usual suspects have dominated the four-team field. Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma have a combined 20 appearances, compared to just eight by all other FBS schools, none of which were from the Group of Five. Expansion has been a talking point for years and it’s coming closer to a reality.
Although new models have not yet been presented officially to the commissioners and presidents, Pete Thamel reports that there is a consensus among campus officials that a 12-team playoff is the most likely next step.
“The reason that you go to 12 is because you can develop the road of least resistance toward a good result,” said a high-ranking college official with knowledge of the process.
The new-look playoff would look like the NFL playoffs prior to last year’s expansion. The top four teams would receive byes, with No. 5 through No. 9 serving as hosts for first round matchups against the four lowest-ranked teams in the field. The Power Five conference champions and highest ranked Group of Five team would receive an automatic bid, leaving six at-large bids available.
Of course, there are plenty of hurdles still to overcome. The Rose Bowl’s insistence on being played in the New Year’s Day afternoon slot has been a thorn in TV executives’ side. They also have to figure out how the large bowl system and conference championship games fit into the schedule without forcing programs to play 17 games to win a title.
This discussion is FAR from over. In mid-July a four-man exploratory committee will present the case for a 12-team playoff and other potential formats to the CFB management committee, setting the stage for change to occur. The wheels are in motion for a larger college football postseason, the question is, will it be good for the sport?