Kentucky’s chances of making the College Football Playoff are about to get better. The College Football Playoff management committee announced today it will consider expanding from its current four-team format to a 12-team format. The proposal calls for the bracket to include the six highest-ranked conference champions, plus the six highest-ranked other teams as determined by the CFP selection committee. No conference would qualify automatically and there would be no limit on the number of participants from a conference.
Before you book your travel to Indianapolis for the 2022 CFP National Championship, this is only the first step in what will likely be a lengthy process, one that committee says will NOT conclude before this fall; in fact, Bill Hancock, the executive director of the CFP, said the format will not change this year or next. The current agreements for the four-team CFP run through the 2025-26 season.
Here are more details on the format from the press release:
The four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded one through four and each would receive a first-round bye, while teams seeded five through 12 would play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team. (The team ranked #5 would host #12; team #6 would meet team #11; team #7 would play team #10; and team #8 would meet #9.) Under the proposal, the quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games. The championship game would continue to be at a neutral site, as under the current format.
Other elements of the working group’s proposal included the following:
- While the playoff calendar is still to be worked out, broadly this is the recommendation:
- First-round games would take place on campus sometime during the two-week period after conference championship games;
- Quarterfinals would be played on January 1—or January 2 when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday—and on an adjacent day;
- Semifinals and championship game dates are to be determined; semifinals likely will not be played as a doubleheader.
- The playoff bracket would follow the rankings, with no modifications made to avoid rematches of teams that may have played during the regular-season or are from the same conference;
- The bracket would remain in effect throughout the playoff (i.e., no re-seeding);
- The working group’s charge did not include deciding which bowls might be a part of the CFP in the future; however the group did recommend that if traditional bowls host games, teams would be assigned to their traditional bowls for quarterfinal games with priority going to the higher-seeded team;
- All 11 games would be under the CFP umbrella, with the administrative specifications and the process for selecting the six bowls that would rotate as hosts of the quarterfinals and semifinals still to be determined.
Until this new format is in place, the Cats will just have to make the CFP the old fashioned way.