Imminent College Football Playoff Expansion: Winners and Losers

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The College Football Playoff committee met last month and decided to move forward with the proposal of a 12 team format for the playoffs. The CFP was created in 2014 ending the BCS championship era and creating a four-team playoff that would crown a champion at the end of the single-elimination bracket. The new format will continue the single-elimination aspect but allow 12 teams to compete for the championship. Let’s take a look at the specifics as well as the effects of this expansion


With the current format of the CFP, the 4 highest ranked teams would get in the playoffs. However, the proposed CFP format will have the six highest-ranked conference champions along with the six highest remaining teams. These will be determined by the CFP committee. There also will be no limit on the number of teams from a singular conference. This is a big step up from what we are used to seeing as it allows teams, that usually would not get in an opportunity to compete for a championship, a shot to win.

A lot of people, including conference commissioners, have differing opinions on the format. Larry Scott, the commissioner of the PAC-12, wants every Power 5 champion to be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs but others like Sun Belt commissioner Keith Gill do not agree. He believes that playoff spots should be earned through winning a multitude of important games and being highly ranked.


With the new format, there are a lot of winners in many different senses. One of the biggest winners are the Group of 5(G5) conferences as there is finally a clear road to the playoffs for them. In the past, there had never been a Group of 5 team in the playoffs. The main thing that seemed to hold them back was their strength of schedule and that it was deemed to not be on par with a Power 5 team’s schedule. Even despite multiple teams being undefeated, the CFP playoff committee never put any of those G5 teams in.

Historic teams like UCF in 2017 and Cincinnati from last year both would have had very good chances of getting into the playoffs. With G5 teams being able to go to the playoffs, the conferences themselves get more money as they get chunks of the revenue from TV, sponsors, and other things. This allows the G5 to position itself better against the Power 5 in terms of facilities and other upgrades.

Another big winner here are the fans themselves. With added teams to the CFP means there is more football being played and more games to be watched. No true football fan ever complains about there being too many games to watch. With more teams competing for a title means more fans get to support their teams including some who never thought their team would ever compete for a championship.


There may be no direct loser to the newly proposed format, but that does not mean there are some negative effects. The biggest argument that many present against the new format is that it will not change much in terms of the final four teams competing for the title. They believe that the talent gap between a team like Alabama and a team like UCF is too large. They turn to previous years’ results and say that if the clear second-best team in the nation last year, Ohio State, couldn’t compete with Alabama, what chance do the 3rd to 12th best teams have.

Another thing they point out is that it makes the regular season slightly less important now as teams can afford to lose more games and still make it into the playoffs. One of the biggest things that set College Football apart from other sports and leagues was how important the regular season was. Losing a single game that a team was not supposed to set them back exponentially in their path to a championship. Some fear that this will be lost with the new format.


Many expect that the change will be right away but the current contract will prevent it from happening this season or next. The CFP committee said fans will have to wait a few years but could see the new format put in play as early as 2023. There will be many details released as well as some things changed from the proposal as it stands now, but a very exciting time is coming for College Football and fans had better be ready.

Thank you for reading my article on the proposed College Football Playoff format. As always, make sure to check out my Twitter @Vedpat1810 for more great Tennessee Volunteers content, and follow us @OT_Heroics for more sports content and information.

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I am a student at the University of Tennessee. I love sports and writer for OTH covering Tennessee football.