What the Previous College Football Playoffs Would've Looked Like With 12 Teams

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The College Football Playoff's four-team format has determined the national champion of college football for the last seven seasons. With news Thursday that the CFP committee is recommending expansion to 12 teams—potentially featuring the six highest-ranked conference champs as well as six at-large bids—the four highest-ranked conference champs would be seeded No. 1–4 and receive a first-round bye.

The remaining teams ranked No. 5–12 will play each other in the first round with home field advantage given to the higher-ranked team. It is not clear when the possibility of an expanded playoff—if approved by 11 presidents and chancellors who make up the CFP's board of managers—would begin, but the current CFP agreement runs through the 2025–26 season.

In the meantime, here is what a 12-team College Football Playoff format would have looked like over the past seven seasons. In years without a Big 12 championship game, the Big 12's automatic bid was awarded to the regular season winner.

2014

• Alabama (1) — first-round bye
• Oregon (2) — first-round bye
• Florida State (3) — first-round bye
• Ohio State (4) — first-round bye

•No. 5 Baylor* vs. No. 12 Boise State (winner plays Ohio State)
•No. 6 TCU vs. No. 11 Kansas State (winner plays Florida State)
•No. 7 Mississippi State vs. No. 10 Arizona (winner plays Oregon)
•No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 9 Mississippi (winner plays Alabama)

*Baylor and TCU shared the 2014 Big 12 title, but for these purposes, the championship was awarded to Baylor due to a higher CFP ranking

2015

• Clemson (1) — first-round bye
• Alabama (2) — first-round bye
• Michigan State (3) — first-round bye
• Oklahoma (4) — first-round bye

• No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 12 Houston (winner plays Oklahoma)
• No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 11 TCU (winner plays Michigan State)
• No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 North Carolina (winner plays Alabama)
• No. 8 Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Florida State (winner plays Clemson)

2016

• Alabama (1) — first-round bye
• Clemson (2) — first-round bye
• Washington (3) — first-round bye
• Penn State (4) — first-round bye

• No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Western Michigan (winner plays Penn State)
• No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida State (winner plays Washington)
• No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Colorado (winner plays Clemson)
• No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 USC (winner plays Alabama)

2017

• Clemson (1) — first-round bye
• Oklahoma (2) — first-round bye
• Georgia (3) — first-round bye
• Ohio State (4) — first-round bye

• No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 12 UCF (winner plays Ohio State)
• No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 11 Washington (winner plays Georgia)
• No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 10 Miami (winner plays Oklahoma)
• No. 8 USC vs. No. 9 Penn State (winner plays Clemson)

2018

• Alabama (1) — first-round bye
• Clemson (2) — first-round bye
• Oklahoma (3) — first-round bye
• Ohio State (4) — first-round bye

• No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Penn State (winner plays Ohio State)
• No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 11 LSU (winner plays Oklahoma)
• No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Florida (winner plays Clemson)
• No. 8 UCF vs. No. 9 Washington (winner plays Alabama)

2019

• LSU (1) — first-round bye
• Ohio State (2) — first-round bye
• Clemson (3) — first-round bye
• Oklahoma (4) — first-round bye

• No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 12 Memphis (winner plays Oklahoma)
• No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 11 Utah (winner plays Clemson)
• No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 10 Penn State (winner plays Ohio State)
• No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Florida (winner plays LSU)

2020

• Alabama (1) — first-round bye
• Clemson (2) — first-round bye
• Ohio State (3) — first-round bye
• Oklahoma (4) — first-round bye

• No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Coastal Carolina (winner plays Oklahoma)
• No. 6 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Indiana (winner plays Ohio State)
• No. 7 Florida vs. No. 10 Iowa State (winner plays Clemson)
• No. 8 Cincinnati vs No. 9 Georgia (winner plays Alabama)

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