A new era of college football

When the College Football Playoff rolls around announced On Thursday, officials were excited, but also tired, that the 12-team expanded playoffs would begin in 2024.

In a statement, CFP CEO Bill Hancock called the events leading up to the announcement a “long process.” Spokesman Brett Daniels began press call Acknowledging the “long journey” it took to get here, he ended by thanking the journalists who had followed this story for 18 months.

The new format provides significant benefits to several parties: more inventory for the network; more income For CFP, conferences and schools; opportunity new teams to take hits on the title; and the opportunity for local communities to benefit from hosting the games.

However, the year-and-a-half-long process has been delayed by personal squabbles and contractual complications. Almost no expansion before 2026.

But as officials iron out the final details, one thing is clear: college football’s spectacular is about to happen. even richer and more famous never existed before.

How did we get here?

When the CFP first started with a 12-team playoff last summer, stakeholders were mostly supportive.

But that all changed in August when Oklahoma and Texas announced they would leave the Big 12 and join the SEC, and it’s safe to say that’s still going on.

And this reported The CFP extension process is broken down creating distrust among the commissioners.

After several months of meetings, no agreement was reached. An awkward vote among conferences in January 2022 halted the process: The Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC, members of the now-defunct “Alliance” to protect against SEC dominance, voted against expansion against all odds at the time. gave general support for the idea.

In early September, university presidents, not commissioners, got together and said enough was enough. It was understandable Without an expansion plan, everyone was losing money.

Friday afternoon before the Labor Day weekend, the group of presidents finally approved 2026 12-team playoff – The year ESPN’s contract with the CFP ends. Early expansion requires additional planning and a certain degree of precision.

  • Commissioners spent three months deciding on issues ranging from revenue sharing reforms and scheduling to whether the first round could be held on campus.
  • And there it was The “grandfather” of all puzzles: Rose cup asked in terms of time exclusivity and the ability to organize additional matches.

“We were down to the last minute of the fourth quarter,” Hancock said. said journalists. “There is no more time.”

However, on Wednesday, the Rose Bowl rejected those requests for the next two years. This was the last piece of the puzzle.

Laura Farber, chairman of the Rose Bowl’s management committee, told FOS that “there was no intention of not entering the extended playoffs early,” and that the bowl was “very pleased” to reach an agreement.

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The College Football Playoff will look more like March Madness or even the NFL postseason than ever before.

The 12 teams will feature the top six conference champions, as well as six automatic qualifiers.

It is guaranteed represent at least six conferences each year – A big change from the four-team model that dominated the Big Ten and SEC: They’ve taken half of the 32 spots in the CFP’s eight years. The latter group will have a chance in a wildly uneven landscape where two “Super Conferences” cast an increasingly large shadow over the Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC.

The format also ensures this at least one “Group of 5” school will appear every season. This not only increases the importance of these meetings, but also creates them A chance to make a Cinderella team effect It has become a hallmark of DI men’s basketball.

  • The closure will begin the week of December 21, 2024. Four teams will have a bye and the rest will play at a field of their choice, whether on campus or at a separate field.
  • The New Year’s Six Bowls will host the quarter-finals and semi-finals. In 2024 Orange and cotton bowl will organize a semi-tournament with Fiesta and Peach Bowls It will be held in 2025.
  • The Rose cup The 1/4 finals will be held on the traditional January 1. Farber expects the 2:00 PM ET window to remain.
  • Hosted by Atlanta national championship January 20, 2025. Miami will host on January 19, 2026. Both are at least a week behind recent years.

All of this is expected to generate additional revenue before all media rights and cup contracts expire in 2026.

The current broadcast deal with ESPN reportedly pays an average dollar fee $470 million a year for a four-team playoff.

In the new format, ESPN will broadcast the final four, semi-finals and championship live, FOS sources confirm, which makes sense given that it currently owns the rights to all New Year’s Six bowls. But it’s unclear whether ESPN will also pick up first-round games.

Additional games mean additional ticket sales, merchandise, concessions revenue, and even more and potential local economic impact.

For now, there will be little change in how that money is distributed. The current CFP formula pays out to conferences, which often squeezes certain teams into the playoffs, but is part of a conference with a larger allocation.

In 2024 and 2025, there will be GNP reported Power 5 teams will work to get a more even distribution, but the formula won’t change much.

Until 2026 and beyond

Almost everything is up in the air after the 2025 season, but when asked if a 16-team playoff is possible, Hancock said Reporters are likely to have established a 12-team format.

The next media deal, a key driver of revenue, can involve more than one network and can be valuable up to $2.2 billion annually, As Front Office Sports before reported.

During this week’s SBJ conference call, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said the network is particularly interested in retaining the rights to the championship. [the CFP] If another media partner wants to be brought in, we will listen and try to be creative.”

Then in 2026, they will play in a New Year’s Six bowl game to qualify for the playoffs. Farber told FOS at the Rose Bowl that he plans to participate in the CFP in the future.

Another issue that could affect the New Year’s Six: the potential success of on-campus games.

All these contracts will be reviewed. “Nothing is locked in,” Hancock said said journalists.

But while the first two years will be a case study, everyone hopes the overall product will help capture the zeitgeist of college football even more.

“Everyone understood that this change was in the best interest of college football and worked together to make it happen,” Hancock said in an official statement. on behalf of [CFP] The steering committee and the board, it’s exciting.”

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