The College Football Playoff management committee has agreed upon a new model that will reward the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next seven highest-ranked teams in the 12-team format that will begin next season, sources confirmed to ESPN on Friday.
The 5+7 model, which was agreed upon at Thursday’s in-person meeting in Dallas, is a change from the previous 6+6 proposal and still requires unanimous approval by the 11 presidents and chancellors who control the CFP.
A majority of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick have long favored the 5+7 model but have been hesitant to commit to it while uncertainty and legal issues still surround the fate of the Pac-12 conference. On Thursday, the group also established a new policy requiring a league to have eight members to be eligible for an automatic qualifying spot in the 12-team field.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the changes.
The original model was designed to reward the Power 5 champions and the top Group of 5 winner. It was agreed upon before the sweeping realignment changes this summer decimated the Pac-12, leaving the conference with Oregon State and Washington State tied up in a legal battle as they determine the best path forward.
According to the NCAA bylaws, an FBS conference needs at least eight full FBS members that satisfy all bowl subdivision requirements. The NCAA gives conferences a two-year grace period, though, when they no longer meet membership requirements before changes are needed. It’s possible the Pac-12 uses this rule for at least a year while it figures out a scheduling solution and its next step, but a two-team league would now be ineligible for the CFP.
The CFP Board of Managers is composed of 10 FBS presidents and chancellors and Notre Dame president John Jenkins. The Pac-12’s representative is Washington State president Kirk Schulz, who could single-handedly present the change in format if he wanted to.
The CFP board isn’t expected to meet until early December.