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Huddle Updates: College Football Exec. Dir. Bill Hancock Talks 12-Team Expansion

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers announced on Friday that the playoff would be expanding from four teams to 12 teams, likely to begin in 2026. Following the announcement, CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock took part in a teleconference with reporters to answer questions and explain the decision-making process for the expansion. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

  • “This is an historic day for college football. It’s a great day.”
  • This will begin the 2026 season, but the board has challenged the management committee to look at the feasibility of beginning this earlier than 2026.
  • Today is a day of celebration.
  • Signs point to the championship game being played later since they’ve added two weeks of games.
  • It’s premature to talk about any host cities at this point. They are set for host cities for 2024 (Atlanta) and 2025 (Miami). The decision timeline for the next set of cities is not yet known. They first must tackle the dates of the games, then they’ll look at cities.
  • What were the major points that took longer to get to this decision? The points have been reported pretty well over the last year. “They were related to the format itself.” At the end of the day, people felt that six at-large teams was an important number.
  • The 2024 and 2025 cities were awarded based on the current dates and there was no mention of possible expansion or later dates at that time.
  • Revenue distribution has not yet been discussed or finalized. There will be more revenue because there are four more games. This will be an 11-game event, but the focus for them was on increased participation.
  • How will this enhance the regular season? More teams will be in the running to be selected for the playoffs later in the season. This will enhance games across the country and across the calendar.
  • What changed to allow this to be done now after stalling out a year ago? The board members represent their schools and conferences and it took time for them to evaluate how the people on their campuses felt about this.
  • What does this mean for the bowls? For 2026 and beyond, they have no determined what the specifications will be. The assumption is that it will be the same six bowl games involved.
  • Will there be revenue sharing with the players? The management committee and the board were having significant conversations about having some benefits for the players. They don’t know what that will be because they’re just starting on this path.
  • There will be no re-seeding after the first round. They will stick to the bracket as it is originally created.
  • What factors will lead to the playoff being implemented earlier? Basically dates and availabilities of the cities.
  • An NFL Draft writer asks if 2023 has been ruled out as a possibility for expansion. Hancock laughs and said yes, it has been ruled out.
  • Was there talk about expanding to 16 or more? There was plenty of talk about that over the last 18 months. The working group had 63 options to examine, from 2 to 32 teams. Twelve became the right number to provide more participation.
  • The home team of the first round will have the opportunity to suggest another site, but he doesn’t know why a home team would want to do that. Fans will want to see playoff games in their home stadium. “It’ll be delightful.” But they still wanted to make the option available for any number of logistical reasons. Any chosen site would have to meet specifications and the CFP would have veto power, most likely. It’s premature to speculate on that because they haven’t talked that part out just yet.
  • There will be specifications for each of the bowl games involved in the playoffs. Stuff like hotel availabilities, stadium capacity, etc., but they haven’t set those yet.
  • There will be no maneuvering to avoid rematches in the first round. They don’t factor that in now and they won’t down the road. “It’s going to be pure seeding by the committee.”

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