College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams by 2026

(Roger Steinman | AP)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2022 at 4:34 PM EDT
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(WMBF) - After years of speculation and discussion, the College Football Playoff is about to get a lot bigger.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel was the first to report Friday that the CFP Board of Managers agreed on a 12-team format that is expected to begin in 2026.

The CFP formally announced the move later Friday afternoon, nearly a decade after the playoff was established in 2014 under the current four-team format.

The teams are selected and ranked by a committee of athletic administrators and other members to determine the best teams in college football. Two semifinals are held each year in a rotation of high-profile bowl games before the national championship game nearly two weeks later.

The CFP also said the 12-team model could begin sooner than 2026 if “earlier implementation is possible.”

The format would feature the six highest-ranked conference champions and the next six highest-ranked teams as voted on by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Of that field, the four highest-ranked conference champions would receive first-round byes.

The bracket would then comprise of matchups down the rankings, with higher seeds hosting lower seeds. First-round games are expected to be played in the third weekend of December, with quarterfinal and semifinal games being played at bowls on a rotating basis. The latter is pending a new agreement with the bowl games.

The national championship game will continue to be played at a neutral site.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.