Nothing is officially official yet, but the College Football Playoffs are expected to expand to 12 teams, which is expected to start in the 2024 football season.
But right now, with the new top 25 rankings in the books, it’s fun to peek into the future and see what the expanded format would be like.
Rankings: USC climbs into the top 25 of the college football playoffs
As we sit here in the present of the college football playoffs, let’s take a trip into the future of the college football playoffs and take a look at what might be based on this week’s poll.
Here’s your look at what the future could hold.
First Four In
1. Georgia, SEC Champion
2. Ohio State, Big Ten Champion
3. TCU, Big 12 Champion
4th USC, Pac-12 Champion
Under the model sanctioned by the College Football Playoff, the top four seeded teams are reserved for the top four ranked conference champions, and for this exercise we assume that the top ranked teams in each league would win their conference title.
These four teams would bow out in playoff format in the first round and play only in the quarterfinals.
And the rest
5. Michigan (general)
6. LSU (general)
7. Alabama (general)
8. Clemson (ACC Champion)
9. Oregon (general)
10. Tennessee (general)
11. Penn State (general)
12. Tulane (AAC Champion)
Per the playoff expansion proposal, the next six top-ranked teams at large will also be guaranteed spots in the postseason format.
If the season were to end now, Clemson and Tulane would be the highest-ranked conference champions outside of the top four in the rankings.
And from there, the top six remaining teams would be picked.
First round games
Tulane in Michigan
Penn State at LSU
Tennessee near Alabama
Oregon near Clemson
The extended playoffs feature a series of first-round matches played on the campus of schools ranked 5th through 8th during the third week of December.
TCU vs Penn State/LSU
USC vs. Michigan/Tulane
State of Ohio vs. Alabama/Tennessee
Georgia versus Clemson, Oregon
The expanded playoffs aim to integrate the existing New Year’s Bowl games into hosting the quarterfinals and semifinals, with the goal of playing the quarterfinal round itself on January 1.
State of Ohio or Alabama or Tennessee vs. TCU or LSU or Pennsylvania
Georgia or Clemson or Oregon vs. USC or Michigan or Tulane
The semifinals will likely be played during the week to avoid a scheduling conflict with NFL Wild Card Weekend, which college football doesn’t want.
Likewise, the National Championship Game is played on a weekday to avoid going against the NFL Divisional Round.
College Football Playoff Predictions
First round: Michigan defeats Tulane, LSU defeats Penn State, Alabama defeats Tennessee, Clemson defeats Oregon
Quarterfinals: LSU def. TCU, Michigan def. USC, Alabama def. Ohio State, Georgia def. Clemson
Semifinals: Alabama via LSU, Georgia via Michigan
National Championship: Georgia via Alabama
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