There’s no CFP set beyond 2025… what a future playoff could look like

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This time last year, a 12-team playoff was inevitable. But, a month later, when Texas and Oklahoma made their future move to the SEC, presidents at ACC, Big 12 Big Ten, and Pac-12 schools did not move forward with their plans because of the expected SEC dominance of the playoff.

This year at the SEC Spring Meetings, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is leading his fellow SEC presidents in discussing not only the future format of the league with the Sooners and Longhorns, but a potential SEC Playoff. With the NCAA already having no control over the College Football Playoff, everyone should expect all of the football Power 5 conferences to break away from the NCAA and form their own new way of determining a champion. It will be a long process, as breaking away from the NCAA could mean choosing someone to be in charge of the sport, separate from all other NCAA sports.

So a 12-team playoff would look something like this:
The top six spots would include all five of the Power 5 champions and the top Group of 5 champion. The order of the team’s would be determined by whatever new CFP committee, which would be formed by the new head of college football.
The next six spots would go to the next six at large teams in the rankings, as determined by the CFP committee.
The bracket would allow the top four seeds to get byes. The one seed would face the winner of the 8./9. game, the two seed would face the winner of the 7./10. game, the three seed would face the winner of the 6./11. game, and the four seed would face the winner of the 5./12. game. Opening round games would be hosted by the higher seed (the five seed would host versus the twelve seed). Second round games would be played at four of the eight New Year’s Six Bowl sites and then the winners of each of those games would play at two of the four left over in the College Football Playoff Semifinals. Next, a national championship winner would be determined at a location selected by the commissioner of college football. The first round would be played the second Saturday in December, the quarterfinals would be played the third Saturday in December, and the semifinals would be played on New Year’s Eve and and national championship would be played the second Monday of the new year like usual.

Here’s what the bracket would have looked like last season:
(Records are from at the end of the regular season)

First Round (December 11)
8.Ole Miss (10-2)
9.Oklahoma State (11-2)

South Bend
5.Notre Dame (11-1)
12.Pittsburgh (11-2)

6.Ohio State (10-2)
11.Utah (10-3)

10.Michigan State

Quarterfinals (December 18)
TBD New Year’s Six Bowl
1.Alabama (12-1)
8.Ole Miss/9.Oklahoma State

TBD New Year’s Six Bowl
4.Cincinnati (13-0)
5.Notre Dame/12.Pittsburgh

TBD New Year’s Six Bowl
3.Georgia (12-1)
6.Ohio State/11.Utah

TBD New Year’s Six Bowl
2.Michigan (12-1)
7.Baylor/10.Michigan State

Semifinals (December 31)
TBD New Year’s Six Bowl
1.Alabama/8.Ole Miss/9.Oklahoma State
4.Cincinnati/5.Notre Dame/12.Pittsburgh

TBD New Year’s Six Bowl
2.Michigan/7.Baylor/10.Michigan State
3.Georgia/6.Ohio State/11.Utah

National Championship (January 9)

By Carter Huff

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