The College Football Playoff management committee is finally set to make some tangible steps towards a big postseason format change.
Next week, the committee will meet in Chicago to discuss a proposed 12-team playoff model. Based reports from college football insiders Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger at Sports Illustrated, the proposal calls for a bracket including the six highest-ranked conference champions and the next six highest-ranked teams determined by the CFP committee.
Another wrinkle in the proposal affords the top-4 ranking conference champions a first-round tournament bye. Teams ranked 5-8 would have home-field advantage over teams ranked 9-12 in the first round.
While at first glance this looks like a clear cut advantage for teams 1-4, there is a potential downfall to the proposed format.
As a top ranked team, your program will have to play in four straight neutral-site games, including the conference championship, in order to make a full national championship run. Unlike teams 5-8, 1-4 will have no postseason home-field advantage.
If you’re No. 1 Alabama, the good news is you get a bye. The bad news is you don’t get to host a home game (but 5-8 do) and your fans have to travel to four straight neutral sites, starting with the conference championship.
Might want to rethink that part.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 10, 2021
This shouldn’t be too much of an issue for top-ranked conference conference champions though. Since the current CFP model was established back in 2014, a Power Five conference champion has won the title in all but one year (Alabama in 2017).
While playoff schedule changes seem inevitable, they won’t be immediate. The current 12-year CFP agreement will run through the 2025-26 season.