The thought had been rumored for several years and gained significant traction this offseason. Now, the rumor is coming to fruition.
A working group representing the College Football Playoff - SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick - are expected to endorse a 12-team format for the bracket moving forward, according to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic.
Changes to the playoff format are not expected to happen within the next two seasons.
Since its inception in 2014, the CFP has courted four programs nationwide based on subjective rankings to compete for college football's national championship. Under the proposed format, six of the highest-ranked conference champions across Division 1 will automatically earn a spot in the playoff, while the remaining six spots are left for at-large bids. The four highest-ranked conference champions would receive a first-round bye while the fifth-through-twelfth teams would square off, seeds five through eight being the home squads in round one.
Per The Athletic, the working group considered six, eight, ten and 16-team playoffs before agreeing upon a 12-program expansion.
The goal of expansion would be to create parity across college football nationally. 20 of the 28 spots in the history of the College Football Playoff have been awarded to four programs: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma. Alabama has qualified for the playoff in six of its seven years in existence, eliminating nearly 25 percent of the field from contention on a yearly basis.
Should the new format pass, Alabama and similar powerhouse programs would maintain a clear path to the bracket so long as they continue to win in the top conferences across the FBS. However, an expanded playoff creates opportunities for programs that arguably deserve a chance to compete but have been on the outside looking in over the years.