And then, finally, there were more than four.
After years of debate over the best model for the College Football Playoff — including standing pat at four teams — there is agreement on expansion, the CFP board announced Friday. The model was approved by a unanimous vote.
"This is an historic and exciting day for college football," said Mark Keenum, Mississippi State president and CFP board chairman. "More teams, more participation and more excitement are good for our fans, alumni, and student-athletes.
"I'm grateful to my colleagues on the board for their thoughtful approach to this issue and for their resolve to get expansion across the goal line and for the extensive work of the Management Committee that made this decision possible."
MORE: Top 25 QBs for 2022 | Preseason All-Americans | Buy NCAA football tickets
The new model will include 12 teams, triple the current number of teams that have made up the Playoff since its inception in 2014.
No long College Lacrosse Shirts er will schools be able to claim that college Chaminade University Silverswords clothes football's historical elitism keeps deserving squads from competing for a national championship. Now, every team from across the country has a shot at making the Playoff.
What they do once they've made it is up to them.
BENDER: Expanded CFP good for college football
The Sporting News looks at the newly agreed-upon model, which te Bradley Braves shirt ams could make up the field, and how the Playoff will be played out.
How many teams will be in new College Football Playoff?
The College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams. That is eight additional teams from the current model. The current model has four Army Black Knights clothes teams that have no officially recognized means of qualifying for the CFP, though the Playoff committee claims that conference champions will have priority. It also has never wavered from the two-loss rule.
The Playoff, of course, was a move up from the Bowl Championship Series, which included only two teams in a winner-take-all championship game.
MORE: CFP contenders: Who can sneak up on Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia?
How will a 12-team College Football Playoff work?
The CFP says that the 12-team field will consist of the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams.
The Playoff committee will continue to select and rank these teams as they do currently. The first games will take place on either the second or third weekend of December, with at least 12 days separating the Playoff and conference championship games.
The top four seeds will receive a first-round bye. Those are reserved for the highest-ranked conference champions. In this model, Notre Dame — or any other independent — will never have the chance at a first-round bye, because they will never play in a conference championship game.
Seeds 1-4 will begin their Playoff in the quarterfinals. They will be given the choice of where they want to play their New Year's Day 6 bowl games. The No. 1 seed will pick first, followed by the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds. The No. 4 seed will receive the last available bowl by default.
Bowl games for the quarterfinals and semifinals will be rotated on an annual basis. The current New Year's Day 6 bowls are the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl and Cotton Bowl. The CFP championship game will continue to be played at a neutral site.
Traditional bowl tie-ins are not necessarily a consideration in this model. While the Pac-12 and Big Ten representatives could play in the Rose Bowl, it would only be because one of those teams was slotted to the Rose Bowl and then played the other in the quarterfinals.
Texas vs. Oklahoma Rivalry Gear MORE: Five best bets to make College Football Playoff for first time in 2022
Seeds 5-12 will be filled by the remaining eight highest-ranked teams, using the CFP rankings and allowing for two conference champions. The 5-seed will play the 12-seed; the 6-seed will play the 11-seed; the 7-seed will play the 10-seed; and the 8-seed will play the 9-seed.
First-round games will be played at the higher-seeded team, either Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry Shirts on campus or at another location designated by the host team. These games will not have any title or presenting sponsors.
After the first round, the Playoff will then play out as an eight-team competition starting with the quarterfinals. The Playoff field will be reduced to four teams for the semifinals and then two teams for the College Football Playoff championship game.
The proposed model strikes a balance between exclusivity and a level playing field. It guarantees at least one team from outside the traditional "Power 5" will gain access. It also places added importance on winning the conference championship — if a team wins that game, then it will have at least an outside shot of making the Playoff.
The CFP remains one of the smallest postseasons in organized sports — two fewer than the NFL, which expanded its playoffs to 14 teams in 2021.
MORE: What the College Football Playoff could learn from March Madness
When will the College Football Playoff expand?
The CFP said that the Playoff will expand in 2026, but the management committee has been tasked with potentially expanding earlier, in either the 2024 or 2025 season.
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach suggest that a rapid implementation — particularly for 2024 — would be difficult:
MORE: How Notre Dame fits in a 12-team College Football Playoff
How would the College Football Playoff model look?
Here's how a 12-team Playoff field would have looked in the 2021, 2019 and 2018 seasons. TSN skipped the COVID-19-affected 2020 season.
|Seed||Team||How they made it|
|10||College Halloween Costumes Michigan State||At-large|
|11||Utah||Conferen Bradley Braves clothes ce champion|
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Ole Miss/No. 9 Oklahoma State
- No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 7 Ohio State/No. 10 Michigan State
- No. 3 Cincinnati vs. No. 6 Notre Dame/No. 11 Utah
- No. 4 Baylor vs. No. 5 Georgia/No. 12 Pitt
|Seed||Team||How they made it|
|2||Ohio State||Conference champion|
|9||Florida||A Big Ten Gear shirt t-large|
- No. 1 LSU
- No. 2 Ohio State
- No. 3 Clemson
- No. 4 Oklahoma
- No. 1 LSU vs. No. 8 Wisconsin/No. 9 Florida
- No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Baylor/No. 10 Penn State
- No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 6 Oregon/No. 11 Utah
- No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Georgia/No. 12 Memphis
|Seed||Team||How they made it|
|4||Ohio State||Conference champion|
- No. 1 Alabama
- No. 2 Clemson
- No. 3 Oklahoma
- No. 4 Ohio State
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 UCF/No. 9 Washington
- No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 7 Michigan/No. 10 Florida
- No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Georgia/No. 11 LSU
- No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Notre Dame/No. 12 Penn State
The Sporting News' Edward Sutelan contributed to this report.
The Sporting News has joined with TicketSmarter in an exclusive partnership to provide tickets for sporting events in the U.S. and Canada. Fans can go to TicketSmarter with this link and use code TSN15 to take $15 off orders of $100 or more before fees and shipping.