If a 12-team format is the way forward for the College Football Playoff —- and odds are that it nonetheless is regardless of a current detour on the highway to enlargement — among the many many particulars that have to be labored out is when it will begin.

There are two selections that will likely be thought of by the directors who make up the CFP administration committee:

— Hold the primary around the second weekend of December, which might create what some members of the committee consider is an unfair benefit for playoff groups that do not play convention championship video games whereas additionally bumping into what has grow to be the standard standalone date for the Army-Navy recreation.

Or …

— Play the third week of December and deal with the potential for scheduling the playoff round or towards NFL video games.

“That’s part of what we’re trying to figure out, just the sequencing of when these games would be played and in what order,” Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips informed AP this week, including that the protection of groups taking part in two high-stakes video games in a row was an element.” So we have to pay careful attention to that, not only the number of games, but how they are sequenced.”

Instead of transferring ahead on a 12-team mannequin as many concerned hoped can be the case by now, the committee is sorting by the professionals and cons of an eight-team format.

With eight groups, there aren’t any video games that have to be performed in mid-December, eliminating altogether these points in addition to conflicts with last exams at many faculties, and making that quantity extra interesting to some committee members.

Still, there are obstacles to eight that make enlargement to 12 extra doubtless .

Getting consensus on when to play these first 4 video games in a 12-team mannequin is a vital piece of the playoff puzzle. How rapidly it’s in place will assist decide if the playoff expands sooner or later.


The 12-team plan requires the primary 4 video games to match seeds 5-12 on campus websites. The high 4 groups, all convention champions below the proposal, would have byes into the quarterfinals to be performed on or close to New Year’s Day.

At least two of these 5-12 seeds will likely be groups which have received convention championships. The plan requires the six highest-ranked league champs to have computerized bids to the CFP. Some groups that lose convention championship video games must also be anticipated to make the sector.

Using earlier last CFP rankings as an imperfect information to how a 12-team playoff might need performed out within the current seasons, AP regarded on the 2017-19 seasons. (Previous seasons weren’t used as a result of the Big 12 was not taking part in a convention title recreation and 2020 was thrown out as a result of the pandemic brought about a number of conferences to have abbreviated seasons.)

In these three seasons, there would have been a complete of 5 matchups between a workforce that performed in a convention championship recreation and one which didn’t.

None of these hypothetical matchups concerned Notre Dame, however the Fighting Irish are clearly on the minds of some members of the committee. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick was a part of the subcommittee that drew up the 12-team plan.

Under the proposal, impartial Notre Dame would by no means get a first-round bye. Swarbrick has mentioned that was a good trade-off for Notre Dame by no means having to play on championship weekend. The Irish would at all times have every week off whereas most playoff contenders are taking part in.

But it isn’t simply Notre Dame. Using 2017-19 last CFP rankings, 11 groups that didn’t qualify for his or her convention championship would have made a 12-team subject throughout these three seasons.

Then there’s the Army-Navy downside. The rivalry has been the one recreation scheduled to be performed on the second Saturday of December since 2009, and people concerned wish to maintain it that means.

“It’s been huge,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk mentioned. “It’s helped us on every front in terms of corporate sponsorship, television exposure, ratings, national exposure with regard to a fanbase for both Army and Navy that is national not parochial.”

Moving Army-Navy again every week would then place it throughout what’s now the primary weekend of bowl season. It would additionally complicate issues if both is in place to qualify for the playoff.

Gladchuk was hesitant to take a position with a lot uncertainty, however mentioned possibly Army-Navy might moved to Thanksgiving weekend if a 12-team playoff took over mid-December.


Having the playoff on this weekend most likely means a complete bunch of lower-tier bowl video games would wish to search out one other date.

Typically, bowl season begins on the third Saturday of December with a number of video games largely involving groups from non-Power Five conferences and, extra lately, the FCS Celebration Bowl that acts as a de facto nationwide title recreation for traditionally Black faculties.

The larger potential impediment is late-season NFL video games. The league sometimes performs video games on the ultimate two Saturdays of December.

This yr, due to the way in which the calendar breaks, there aren’t any Saturday NFL video games on the third weekend of December. But final yr, there was.

It’s one factor for ESPN to string collectively a handful of minor bowls to go up towards the mighty NFL. It’s fairly one other to ask a tv accomplice to pay lots of of million of {dollars} for a brand new CFP after which anticipate that community to place that up towards the TV scores monster that’s the NFL.

An answer might be merely not taking part in some or all of these first 4 video games on Saturday, as a substitute making them primetime weeknight video games.

Something to take into account that might make going towards the NFL not appear so scary. With the NFL’s Thursday night time package deal transferring to Amazon in 2022, the late-season Saturday video games are prone to be unique to the NFL Network. ESPN and/or Fox (if it will get into the CFP enterprise) would have room for these faculty video games.

Gladchuk isn’t concerned within the CFP course of, however he mentioned placing an open week between championship weekend and the beginning of the playoff made sense.

“They would give (the players) a week off to regroup,” he mentioned. “They’d give the fans a chance to recalibrate and make destination plans.”

CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock mentioned final month if a brand new format is to be applied for the 2024 season, consensus must be reached by the administration committee by late December or January. Otherwise, the 2026 season can be the soonest a change might be made.

No official conferences have been introduced, however November might be a pivotal month to work issues out. When to start out the playoff isn’t the largest hurdle, however it’s one other tough one on a protracted record.

“The calendar,” Hancock mentioned, “is really complex.”