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College Football Playoff working group to recommend expanding championship to 12 teams

It’s now likely we’ll see a massive expansion of the college football championship in two seasons.

Alex Leatherwood of the Alabama Crimson Tide holds the trophy following the College Football Playoff National Championship game win over the Ohio State Buckeyes at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Update: 3:20 p.m. We now have more details:


Multiple reports are that the College Football Playoff working group that was charged with looking at the format of the event will recommend a 12-team tournament to the CFP Board of Managers.

If this is implemented, and it wouldn’t happen sooner than 2023, it changes the face of college football permanently. It also gives the 65 schools that aren’t in a Power Five conference or Notre Dame a legitimate chance to compete for a national championship, something none of them has done since the CFP premiered in 2014. Prior to that the BCS Championship game, which paired the No. 1 team vs. the No. 2 team in 1998, also was missing any school from the non-Power Five tier.

This system would also give the potential for multiple Group of Five leagues to have conference champions to not only participate in the tournament, but be the home team if the final plan allows early round games to be played at campus sites.

What this means for the current bowl system is still unclear, but for now there should plenty of rejoicing by schools in the American Conference, Conference USA, Mountain West, MAC, and Sun Belt: They can now tell recruits there is a legitimate path to winning a national championship.