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The ACC Ends a CFB Playoff Expansion, For Now

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NCAA Football: ACC Kickoff Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The four-team college football playoff format is scheduled to expire after 12 seasons, which would carry the current model through the 2025-2026 college football season. Changing the model prior to the 2026 expiration date requires unanimous approval from the 11-member College Football Playoff management committee. The management committee consists of 10 conference commissioners plus Notre Dame’s athletic director. Of course, Notre Dame gets special consideration. Other Power Five conferences have voiced support for the expansion of the playoff, with both the SEC and Big 12 commissioners recommending a 12-team playoff format. Recently the PAC-12 stated that it is strongly in favor of all six proposed expansion models.

As suggested, a 12-team playoff would create the potential of a 17-game season for teams that make it to the national championship. In the current four-team format the maximum number of games is 15.

This past week ACC Commissioner, Jim Philips, stated that the ACC’s conference membership is “very much aligned in its position that now is not the time to expand the College Football Playoff.” Mr. Philips referenced three primary reasons for holding off on the CFB Playoff expansion.

1. Athlete health and safety

2. Recent disruption of the sport’s landscape

3. Desire for a complete review of college football that includes athlete input

Philips noted feedback from Clemson’s student-athletes communicating they do not want to play more games. The Tigers played 15 game seasons in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Additionally, the ACC commissioner noted the volatility introduced to the college football landscape through the controversial student transfer portal and recent Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rule changes. Phillips encapsulated his concerns saying, “We have much larger issues facing us than whether to expand the CFP early by two years. There’s too many unanswered questions.”

In a decision that will create conflict and conversation amongst conferences, student-athletes, and fans alike, the ACC has ended the College Football Playoff expansion discussion, for now.