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A Potential 14-Team College Football Playoff Could Grant 3 Automatic Qualifiers to the SEC and Big Ten and 2 to the ACC and Big 12

Yahoo — One of the potential models for a new College Football Playoff may be emerging.

In a format being socialized among major conference administrators, the Big Ten and SEC would each receive three automatic qualifiers into a 14-team field, with the ACC and Big 12 getting two each and the Group of Five’s best team qualifying as well. Such a model would feature three at-large spots to the highest-ranked teams outside of the automatic qualifiers.

Those briefed on the format discussed its details with Yahoo Sports Wednesday under condition of anonymity. They cautioned that the proposed model is nowhere near finalized and is not the only format option that emerged from a meeting last week of the CFP Management Committee, an 11-member group encompassing the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director.

However, this “3-3-2-2-1” format is being socialized among athletic administrators, usually one of the initial steps in the process of adopting a model. The format would start in 2026 as part of a new CFP television contract. In 2024 and in 2025, the 12-team field’s format is set: automatic qualifiers for the five highest-ranked conference champions and seven at-large spots.

You know that 12-team College Football Playoff that starts this year? Well don't get too used to it, because it's likely only lasting two seasons before two more teams get added and we start all over again. The format apparently being discussed for the seemingly imminent 14-team CFP would give out 11 automatic qualifiers — three each to the SEC and Big Ten, two each to the ACC and Big 12 and one to the best team from the Group of Five.

It obviously seems on the surface like this is a coup for the SEC and Big Ten, but if we really end up going the way of this model, the conferences that benefit the most are actually the ACC and Big 12. The SEC and Big Ten are going to have more teams in the Playoff every year anyway, so getting those automatic slots is huge for the lesser two leagues.

Also, what happens with conference championship games under this model? In the upcoming 12-team CFP, the conference championship games are massive because the winners earn first round byes. But with three automatic qualifiers for some leagues, there really isn't even a point in having championship games anymore. It makes a couple regular season games bigger for teams fighting for the second or third spot in the conference, but renders the championship games completely meaningless. And if you still have them, you could be putting the regular season conference winner at a huge disadvantage if they were to lose and then play in the first round just like the team that finished third who didn't have to play an extra game.

The biggest problem, though, is this CFP model would just be the committee's latest move in its march towards college football communism. Let everyone in the Playoff! Automatic qualifiers for going 9-3! Hell, let's just go ahead and make it 32 teams and take the preseason AP Top 25 plus seven at-larges, skip the regular season entirely and have the Playoff take place from September to November. Anything for MORE PLAYOFFS!!!

I hope someone has the courage to step in at some point and show these people the errors of their ways, but I fear it may be too late.