This afternoon, the College Football Playoff working group drafted a proposal to expand the playoff to 12 teams some time in the future.
Since the CFP became a reality in 2014, it has been a four-team tournament. Expansion was always expected though, and now we have an idea of what it will look like.
As for when such a change will go into effect, we also have a general sense of that, thanks to new reports.
CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock told reporters today that the four-team format won’t be altered this season or in 2022, so 2023 is the earliest date to keep an eye on.
From the CFP Working Group on 12-team expansion proposal: The date of implementation of a potential new format was not a part of the working group's proposal. Bill Hancock said the format will not change this year or next year, so the 2023 season appears to be the earliest chance
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) June 10, 2021
Under the group’s reported proposal, the 12-team field would consist of the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams. Theoretically, this should open the field up to teams outside the Power 5.
The four highest-ranked conference champions will receive byes, with the other eight teams competing in opening round games. Because a team will have to win a conference in order to be eligible for a bye, this leaves Notre Dame getting the shaft unless they finally give up their independence.
Of course, on the flip side, the expanded playoff theoretically helps the Irish have a better chance of qualifying for the field.
All in all, this format isn’t perfect, but it seems like an improvement on what we’ve had the last seven seasons.