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Reports: College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams

College Football Playoff managers reportedly voted Friday to move forward with the expansion.

SHARE Reports: College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams
Utah QB Cam Rising runs the ball during the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Utah Utes quarterback Cam Rising (7) runs the ball during the Pac-12 championship game against the Oregon Ducks at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The College Football Playoff will soon triple in size after its managers voted Friday to expand it to 12 teams, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

The new, bigger tournament will ensure participation from a wider range of conferences, and up the odds that schools like the University of Utah and BYU, which have turned in strong performances in recent seasons but failed to make the cut, will have a chance to compete.

Ross Dellenger from Sports Illustrated reported Friday that the new 12-team format could be implemented as soon as 2024, but that it’s up to commissioners to work out the details.

“The date of implementation (2024 or 25 or 26) is being left for commissioners to determine, as well as details of the format,” he said on Twitter.

Thamel tweeted that the most likely scenario would involve launching the 12-team model in 2026.

As Dellenger reported ahead of Friday’s vote, it will take a lot of work to figure out the logistics of a 12-team College Football Playoff. “The current small-scale operation of three games (semifinals + championship) would nearly quadruple in size to 11 games,” he wrote.

Such growth will certainly require additional game days and may also require new venues, Dellenger reported.

“The championship game will be moved back at least a week, into mid-January. New sites and new dates might be necessary,” he said.

Commissioners will also have to work out a new TV deal or dramatically adjust the existing one, according to Dellenger.

ESPN “owns the rights of the 2024 and ’25 Playoff, a bugaboo for many commissioners who want to see multiple networks holding ownership over pieces of the Playoff. While ESPN has shown a willingness to compromise, the nature of those talks are unclear,” he said.

Although the details of how teams will be chosen for an expanded College Football Playoff are not yet available, Dellenger tweeted Friday that the format will likely follow the pattern laid out last summer.

He said the six highest ranked conference champions would likely automatically qualify and then six at-large bids would be given out.

As the Deseret News reported in June 2021, such a format should be music to the ears of Utah teams.

“A 12-team field opens the possibility for schools like Utah (Pac-12) and Utah State (Mountain West) to win their conference championships and have automatic access to the playoff, as well as creates greater at-large access,” the article said.