The College Football Playoff is expanding from four teams to 12. While it is unclear what year it will happen — it is potentially as soon as 2024, but might not be until 2026 — we do know that the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams will make up the field of 12 participating squads.
What we have learned since the news became official earlier in the day on Friday is how the whole thing will work. While there will still be a selection committee that picks which teams are going to get the chance to play for a national championship, there are several cool new details about how a 12-team playoff will work. The most exciting of the bunch very well might be how the first round will play out between seeds 5-12 — while the top-4 squads, all of which are conference champions, will receive byes to the quarterfinals, the higher-seeded teams in the remaining games (5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9) will all host on-campus home games or games that take place in a building of their choosing.
The official details of the 12-team Playoff — first-round home games, etc.
(Again, exactly what the Bowlsby/Sankey/Swarbrick/Thompson group proposed in June 2021 and three commissioners voted against.) pic.twitter.com/XLwftWU8Kh
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 2, 2022
It would have been very easy to play these games at neutral sites, but the concept of a game with national title implications between two schools that never play one another happening on a college campus — and I want to be very clear about this — rocks. Using last year’s rankings, a 12-team playoff in 2021 could have featured Pitt traveling to Notre Dame, Utah visiting Ohio State, Michigan State playing Baylor in Waco, and Ole Miss hosting Oklahoma State.