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Expanding the CFP to 12 teams? UCF’s Gus Malzahn calls it a ‘game changer’

Here’s what we know about the proposed CFP expansion

The UCF Knights celebrate their Peach Bowl victory -- and national championship -- in Atlanta on Jan. 1. (Photo: Derek Warden)
The UCF Knights celebrate their Peach Bowl victory — and national championship — in Atlanta on Jan. 1. (Photo: Derek Warden)
Photo: Derek Warden

It’s happening! It’s finally happening!

Expanding the College Football Playoff to a 12-team format is on the table at the committee’s meeting in Chicago next week. Sports Illustrated was the first to report the proposal.

The current playoff system calls for a four-team bracket. The proposed expansion is the first step in a process that could take years to implement, as the four-team system agreement is in place for the next five seasons.

But it’s a step in the right direction.

UCF football coach Gus Malzahn weighed in on Twitter with a photo of a No. 12 jersey and the caption, “Game Changer.”

Sports Illustrated reported the new expansion proposal “could help quell complaints from Group of 5 schools such as UCF, who have thus far been left out of the playoff each year since 2015.”

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said the expansion “has real merit.”

“This proposal, which treats all FBS conferences equally, has real merit. Under this plan, we would have made the Playoff in five of the seven years of the Playoff era. It affirms our P6 positioning,” the AAC tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Malzahn’s tweet comes just minutes after the news broke about the proposal, which was written by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbruck and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, according to ESPN.

This isn’t the first time Malzahn shared his stance with the current College Football Playoff system. Upon his arrival at UCF, he was asked about expanding the playoff system at his introductory press conference.

And he said he was “all for it.”

“Terry being on the committee probably knows a whole lot more about that,” Malzahn said when asked his viewpoint on expanding the College Football Playoff. “But I know for me, and it was way before I got here … eight would be a better number.

“So in the future, maybe, being a former high school coach and having semifinals and quarterfinals, I’m all for it. Not just because I’m here, that was even when I was at the last job.”

He also shared his plan for the Knights making a run at the postseason.

“Our goals are going to be pretty simple, it’s to win championships, to get in the College Football Playoffs — and we’re excited about that — and then to play in New Year’s Six bowl games,” Malzahn said.

Who’s in?

Here’s what the recommendation for the 12-team playoff would be , according to Sports Illustrated:

  • 6 highest-ranked conference champions
  • 6 at-large
  • The 4 highest-ranked conference champions would get a first-round bye
  • Remaining 8 teams play in the opening round

When is the vote?

The College Football Playoff committee is scheduled to make a formal announcement Thursday afternoon.

The committee is scheduled to meet June 17-18 to discuss the proposal for an expanded playoff system, ESPN reported.

If the group reaches a decision, the plan goes to the 11 presidents and chancellors in the College Football Playoff board of managers on June 22.

If the board reaches an agreement, the commissioners will use the summer to plan its implementation.

When will the expanded CFP start?

There is no target date for when the expanded College Football Playoff system will start, Sports Illustrated and ESPN reported.

Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.