College Football Playoff mulling 14-team model with three auto bids for Big Ten, SEC, per reports


A new model for a 14-team College Football Playoff field is gaining momentum among athletic administrators, according to multiple outlets. The new “3-3-2-2-1” format — which would go into effect in 2026 — would give three automatic bids to the Big Ten and SEC, two bids to the ACC and Big 12, one to the highest-ranked Group of Five team and three at-large berths to the next-highest ranked teams. The plan would also reduce the number of first-round byes from four to two with an extra game added to the first round. 

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported Wednesday that the SEC and Big Ten are making a major move to gain access, revenue and power in the latest round of College Football Playoff negotiations and reports of this model — which would guarantee the two leagues make up at least 40% of the playoff field — seem to confirm that. 

Yahoo Sports reports that while the “3-3-2-2-1” format has gained some traction among school administrators and conference officials, it’s just one of several options laid on the table at the CFP Management Committee meeting last week. According to ESPN, there are even some discussions among Big Ten and SEC administrators to break away from the NCAA completely 

Any new agreement would require the approval of the 11 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame. If and when the 12 parties agree on a format, there’s still the topic of revenue distribution to iron out. 

The current 12-team model had a long road to approval. The format was first proposed in June 2021 and wasn’t approved until September of the following year. in fact, the final 5+7 model for 2024 wasn’t approved by the CFP Management committee until just last week.

These current discussions appear to have a more firm timeline, however. CFP executive director Bill Hancock has set a soft deadline for mid-March to reach a final agreement, citing the CFP’s pending television contract as a major reason to expedite negotiations. The current broadcasting rights contract between the CFP and ESPN is set to expire in 2026. According to ESPN, a new six-year, $1.3 billion deal has already been agreed to in principle, but can’t be finalized until a format can be agreed upon. 





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