They don’t have to decide anything now, and whatever they do decide doesn’t have to be unanimous (but if you don’t go along, you might be left out entirely). But it seems to be going past 12 to 16 teams, at least in some corners.
But how do you hand out the 16 spots? All the conference champs and a few at-larges? I hope not. The thought of Northern Illinois or Florida Atlantic playing a first round game at Bryant-Denny or the Horseshoe and getting mangled 60-0 is not appealing. The Power 5 winners, one G5 winner and six at-large? What if there aren’t five P5 conferences left in 2026? Eight conference winners and 8 at large? That’s still at least three G5s, maybe two at most might actually belong there (and with the Big 12 plucking teams like UCF, Cincy and Houston, the G5 may have trouble with producing even one team that deserves it).
It’s also possible that a 16-team field would devalue the regular season more than a 12-team field, but maybe not. There is sentiment that the current format results in 90+ percent of the teams being eliminated by Halloween; more spots mean more games in November that actually mean something. But 16 also means that 4 middling teams get thrown to the wolves in the first round, which can become a player safety issue if Bama or Georgia is just steamrolling them.
It’s not going to be a model where only conference champs get in; Greg Sankey, Jack Swarbrick and Kevin Warren ain’t gonna go for that. Only 2-3 at large spots won’t fly either for the same reason, which pretty much requires we go past 8 (a plan with only 8 at-large teams ain’t gonna fly either).
Next meeting of the CFP management committee is set for late September. Conceivable they’ll reach an agreement then, but not overly likely