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New College Football Playoff Format Approved, Major Changes Will Effect Clemson and the ACC

The College Football Playoff has approved a new format starting in 2026, and it is not a good one for Clemson and the ACC.

The report initially released by ESPN’s Heather Dinich and Pete Thamel reported that the FBS conferences and Notre Dame have agreed to a new 14-team format with guarantees for conference champions. Here are some of the details as reported by ESPN.

The memorandum of understanding guarantees that the field will have at least 12 teams in 2026 and beyond, but sources indicate there is a strong preference for a 14-team field that includes the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next nine highest-ranked teams. Sources caution the exact format is not done yet, and the Big Ten and SEC will have the bulk of control over that, but others will be protected by parameters that have been put in place that can’t be altered.

The financial distribution for the expected 14-team playoff will look radically different that its playoff predecessor. On an annual basis, for example, the Big Ten and SEC will be making more than $21 million per school, a number that’s up from the nearly $5.5 million the Power Five leagues are currently being paid.

In the ACC, the schools will get more than $13 million annually and the Big 12 will get more than $12 million per school. Notre Dame is expected to get more than $12 million as well, and sources tell ESPN there will be a financial incentive for any independent team that reaches the CFP. (There will no longer be a participation bonus for any of the other leagues – a detail that was frustrating to some leaders in the Group of 5.)

There are huge changes coming, and it’s clear how this will affect Clemson and the rest of the ACC teams. The SEC and Big Ten get clear advantages from this new format, and with it being approved, there’s not much to be done for the ACC here.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire