What could an eight-team College Football Playoff look like in 2020?

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When Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott recently proposed expanding the 2020 playoff field to eight teams, he also was proposing — in a way — to bring Texas back.

Because there is no team in the SEC, ACC, Big 12 or Big Ten that would have benefited more from an eight-team playoff field than the Longhorns, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor. And it was not close.

To get these projections, we had to make a couple of assumptions. First, because the format of the eight-team selection is not known, we took a guess that it was the popular 5-2-1 proposal — meaning all five Power 5 conference champions, two at-large bids, and one Group of 5 champion.

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Unfortunately, because the Pac-12 (and the MAC) have yet to release their full schedules, and this was put together before the Mountain West released its schedule on Thursday afternoon, we could not project their seasons. As a result, each of our simulations included an unknown “Pac-12 champion” in the playoff; teams from the Mountain West and MAC could not earn the Group of 5 playoff spot; and no Pac-12 teams were awarded any at-large bids. That’s just the cost of doing business without a schedule.

But enough details. Let’s get back to the projections.

Texas (probably) is going to the playoff!

As of Tuesday, the Longhorns have a 28% chance to reach the playoff. If the committee had elected to add four more playoff teams under the 5-2-1 format, Texas’ chances would have shot all the way up to 67%!

But everyone’s chances go up when there are eight teams, right?

Not like this. Texas’ increase of nearly 40 percentage points is more than double every Power 5 team.

So why is Texas so disproportionately affected? Because of the situation it


College Football Playoff shelves Pac-12 proposal for eight-team expansion

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The expansion of the College Football Playoff could happen in the future, it just won’t happen this season.

The CFP management committee met on Wednesday, where during the meeting Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott proposed the CFP expand to eight teams starting this season. 

The idea was not approved by the committee.

According to Heather Dinich of ESPN, league commissioners review the CFP annually, but Wednesday was the first time it had been made public that one of the Power 5 commissioners had proposed an eight-team format. 

“They decided that doing that now would be such a significant change, and come with so many challenges, especially given the timing with the season already underway, that they concluded that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN. “They will continue to discuss the future, which is just good, responsible business practice, although I must say that dealing with COVID has become everyone’s focus now.”

The CFP will likely expand in the future but doing so during a global pandemic, where some leagues, including the Pac-12 have yet to play a game, just didn’t make sense. 

“Whether it’s six or eight, at some point in time it’s going to happen,” Stanford coach David Shaw told reporters. “We all know it; we all believe it. We’re just going to do it very, very slowly and methodically, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.”


In order for change to happen, a proposal would have to be supported by the 10 FBS commissioners as well as Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. If that were the case, then the CFP board of managers, which includes the presidents and chancellors of 11 different universities, would have the final say. 

Expansion has long been talked about