Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Big Ten, SEC push for guaranteed first-round byes in proposed 14-team College Football Playoff model

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USATSI

As power brokers in college football are in the midst of intense debates regarding the future of the College Football Playoff for 2026 and beyond, the Big Ten and SEC are currently pushing for a 14-team model that would not only guarantee three automatic bids for each conference but also reserve the format’s two first-round byes for each league’s respective champion, sources confirmed to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. The two leagues lobbying for the guaranteed byes was a counter-proposal after they originally pushed for four automatic CFP bids apiece. 

The proposed “3-3-2-2-1” model would also grant two bids each to the ACC and Big 12 and one to the highest-ranked Group of Five team. The three remaining at-large berths would be divided among the next-highest-ranked teams. 

According to Yahoo Sports, seeding for the playoff would be largely determined by the CFP Selection Committee’s rankings. That differs from the 12-team format for 2024 and 2025 where the top four seeds in the bracket are all conference champions. In this proposed 14-team model, the Big Ten and SEC champions will be the only teams to receive a bye, while then the rest of the automatic qualifiers will be seeded according to the playoff rankings.

This is just one of multiple models on the table and a final deal is likely a ways off, sources also confirmed to Dodd, but the rush to get a consensus on the future of the CFP comes during a turbulent time for college sports. 

CFP leadership is expected to continue meeting and discussing the format proposals, as well as the revenue distribution decisions. 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 negotiations as a major reason to expedite a format decision. 

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