College Football Announces 12-Team Playoff

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Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NCAA Conference Championship - The big news we've expected for a while is now official, as college football's FBS level is going to a 12-team playoff beginning with the 2024 season.

The 12 teams each year will include six conference champions -- that means at least one Group of 5 team gets in -- and then the next six at-large teams. The first four teams get byes in Week 1 while the other eight teams play at the home stadiums of seeds 5-8. Then the next two rounds take place in bowl games, with the last two teams playing in the National Championship Game.

I like this because it means at least one Group of 5 team will get a shot every year, even if it is just a shot to get stomped in the first round. It also should make the last couple weeks of the regular season and the conference championships more exciting as teams jockey for position. On the other hand, going from four teams to 12 definitely makes most of the regular season a little less important, and it means there's the chance that a two-loss or even three-loss team will get in and then go on a postseason run to a title despite not being the best team in college football over the course of the entire season.

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Comments

16 comments, Last at 03 Dec 2022, 8:47pm

#1 by Will Allen // Dec 01, 2022 - 2:42pm

At least 4 teams too many, and the top 4 seeds ought to be conference champs. On the whole, this makes me less inclined to watch college football prior to December

.

Points: -1

#3 by laurin // Dec 01, 2022 - 5:41pm

with 8 teams you don't get byes for the best teams. with just 6 teams there is no change

Points: 0

#4 by Will Allen // Dec 01, 2022 - 6:33pm

I'm not very interested in "best teams" that have not won their conference, because I  think the primacy of a conference championship has been the best thing about college football, stretching back decades. Well, a conference championship has become nearly trivial now. If the people who run the sport don't care, I guess I won't either. It's not the only thing, or even the most important thing, that turns me off about college football (that would be the blatant violation of antitrust law), but I have a lot less reason to watch games now.

Points: 5

#7 by jgibson_hmc95 // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:17pm

I always liked that conference champions go to bowl games associated with winning that conference.  But with regard to playoffs, only taking the conference champions would throw out 1/3 of the season - the non-conference.  That one year that Penn State won the Big Ten but Ohio State made the playoffs made sense because PSU only won on a tiebreaker in the conference, but non-conference, Ohio State won at Oklahoma and Penn State lost to Pitt.  Imagine if the NFL division winners were only picked by the 6 division games instead of all the games.

Points: 3

#5 by swede700 // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:45am

I am absolutely fine with making the regular season "less" meaningful, as the regular season is already meaningless for 90% of the FBS who have absolutely no chance starting from Week 1. In fact, this may actually entice me to start watching college football more broadly.  I personally would have preferred it go to 16, 12 is perfectly acceptable to me....and for your reference, the top 4 seeds will be conference champions and will get the bye.  If they aren't a conference champion, they won't be eligible to get a bye.    

Points: 2

#10 by Pat // Dec 02, 2022 - 4:13pm

as the regular season is already meaningless for 90% of the FBS who have absolutely no chance starting from Week 1.

No, it isn't. The entire point of the season for the lesser FBS teams is to possibly dethrone one of the guys who does have a chance. When, I dunno, Western Michigan takes down Ohio State in some crazy thing and their fans go nuts, it's because they know Ohio State was playing as hard as they could because they had no chance of making it if they lose to a team like that. That's their Super Bowl.

Yes, they don't have a chance at a national championship. They still don't. Even on the off chance that they make it in, it's now even harder for them to make it, because they probably won't be in the top 4. Before there was incentive to put someone in the top 4: they're either in or out at that point, and keeping out undefeated teams if they're close just looks bad. Now that's incentive's gone. So now they need to win 3 games. Cincinnati in '22 had an easier path and it was probably still like a 1-in-1000 chance.

The main reason I don't like this expansion is because the real problem is that FBS is too big. You've got way too many games that mean absolutely nothing. You'll never get parity or get a real chance until you get rid of those fodder games.

Points: -3

#11 by Will Allen // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:25pm

Exactly. Who cares about a gigantic upset in October, if a team that finished 3rd in their conference can still win a championship??

Points: 0

#13 by Pat // Dec 03, 2022 - 9:02am

You want a crazy idea that would never happen, but would be *great* for the sport?

You keep the 12 team playoff, whatever. But you split FBS, and add relegation. You've already *basically* got it because many of the powerhouse FCS schools have moved up. But if you did it again, it'd add a lot more drama.

Won't happen because of money, obviously. Plus people would say it entrenches power teams more, although in reality that's true anyway.

Points: 0

#6 by swede700 // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:45am

I am absolutely fine with making the regular season "less" meaningful, as the regular season is already meaningless for 90% of the FBS who have absolutely no chance starting from Week 1. In fact, this may actually entice me to start watching college football more broadly.  I personally would have preferred it go to 16, 12 is perfectly acceptable to me....and for your reference, the top 4 seeds will be conference champions and will get the bye.  If they aren't a conference champion, they won't be eligible to get a bye.    

Points: 0

#2 by Brian Fremeau // Dec 01, 2022 - 4:10pm

It sure isn't 2013 anymore. And it's not 1997 anymore. Or 1992. Or 1988. Etc. As a college football fan since the mid-80s, I've lost track of how many times I've wondered if fundamental changes to the structure and/or organization of the sport would or would not impact my consumption and enjoyment of it.

It will be different! I'm not sure it will be better! But I don't really know, and if I'm being really honest and nerdy, my statistical spidey senses are tingling more out of curiosity than apprehension.

Points: 1

#8 by jgibson_hmc95 // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:19pm

Regardless of how we feel, I think this was a necessary change in terms of keeping more players playing in the postseason.  As it is now, there are so many bowl opt outs of pretty high level bowls but not playoffs, where a lot of talent is.  I think we could keep the lower tier bowls, as whether there is a playoff or not hardly affects how important the Indepdence Bowl is.

Points: 1

#9 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:43pm

Good. The "regular season doesn't matter anymore" crowd still makes no sense. Only in CFB do people complain about adding teams when 3% of the nation makes the playoffs. Yet we'll consume (and prefer!) literally any other league with a quarter of the amount of teams, yet 3x as many playoff teams. 

Essentially having to be perfect to have a chance is ludicrous. And people don't even like TCU right now!

means there's the chance that a two-loss or even three-loss team will get in and then go on a postseason run to a title despite not being the best team in college football over the course of the entire season.

Oh no! LITERALLY every other sports league. Lol.

Points: 1

#12 by Will Allen // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:27pm

It's amazing to see analogies drawn between playoffs pulled from 100+ fields, and playoffs pulled from 32 team fields.

Points: 0

#14 by Pat // Dec 03, 2022 - 10:52am

Plus 100+ fields with the biggest disparity of all sports leagues anywhere. Oh, and just to top it all off with more fun, the least connectivity of any sports league anywhere.

Points: 0

#15 by occams_pointed… // Dec 03, 2022 - 8:47pm

This makes sense to me as the extra game fits into the big gap between conference championship weekend and start of CFP

Points: 0

#16 by occams_pointed… // Dec 03, 2022 - 8:47pm

This makes sense to me as the extra game fits into the big gap between conference championship weekend and start of CFP

Points: 0

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