There was a time when it looked like early expansion for the College Football Playoff was in doubt. As the Rose Bowl held up the necessary unanimous vote in hopes of maintaining their prime window on January 1, there became a standoff between everyone who was ready to push expansion through and the historic game.
Expansion required a unanimous vote between the participating bowls, the conferences, and Notre Dame. The Rose Bowl remaining the one dissenting voice was faced with a deadline and an ultimatum. Vote yes on expansion by Wednesday or risk being left out in the cold win the playoff expands in 2026
Well, now, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN, the Rose Bowl has signed and agreement that will allow the College Football Playoff to expand two years earlier in their current media rights package with ESPN.
Expansion creates an open door for teams that didn’t win their conference but had good seasons. This year, Ohio State would be the prime beneficiary of an expanded playoff as the one-loss Buckeyes will get left out in the cold if the current top four win out.
Moving from four teams to 12 also provides more equity for the Group of Five, who in previous years, only had a shot at getting in if they were undefeated and had significant Power Five wins on their resume. Only Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference was able to break the glass ceiling. Now there’s a path to the playoff for every school in the Football Bowl Subdivision. And while 2022 Tulane may not be on the same level as Georgia, they hold a win over Kansas State, who could win the Big 12 title this weekend.
The first season of expansion in 2024 will also be the final year the Oklahoma Sooners will play in the Big 12. If they’re able to improve their defense, the Sooners could be contending for a spot in an expanded College Football Playoff.
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