Clemson football: 12-team CFB Playoff model gaining momentum

Clemson football fans hoping to see expansion in the CFB Playoff might be getting their wish, according to the latest reports.

There has been momentum growing over the last year, in particular, for CFB Playoff expansion and the expectation is that the CFB Playoff committee will take a step towards that this summer.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel is reporting that it’s still too early to tell anything since the various playoff models haven’t been presented to conference commissioners or university presidents, but  the favorite that has emerged in the clubhouse of many officials is a 12-team playoff, rather than an eight-team model.

“Yahoo Sports spoke to more than a dozen stakeholders Monday on every side of the playoff decision – university officials, athletic directors, media executives and others around college sports. Amid those conversations, a surprise emerged — officials on campuses, in conference offices and in the television world have expressed an openness toward a 12-team playoff as the most likely result,” Thamel reported.

Thamel said the CFB Playoff working group will report its findings to the CFB Playoff management committee on July 17-18.

“The two days of discussion by the management committee are expected to yield a singular recommendation for the following week. That’s when the CFP board of managers, a group of 11 presidents and chancellors from the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame, will examine what’s put forward and likely determine the potential shape — although not the final details — of the playoff’s future.”

An expanded CFB Playoff is on the horizon and Clemson football will benefit from an automatic bid

Whether the playoff expands to six, eight or 12, one thing that we can look at as a positive for Clemson is the automatic qualifier.

When the expanded playoff goes into effect, the Tigers will no longer have to worry about impressing a committee as long as they take care of business on the field. Outside of seeding (and we’ll get there in just a second), it won’t matter if Clemson football decides to run the score up to “impress” a committee or if the Tigers take their usual conservative approach and choose to build depth in games that are already out of hand.

They’ll be in the playoff regardless.

What’s interesting about this report, though, is the 12-team model.

With 12 teams, you’re looking at a bracket that would include four byes. The assumption would be that the committee would still be seeding the teams and a bye through the first round would prove to be extremely beneficial. So, even though Clemson won’t have to impress a committee to get in- as long as the Tigers win the conference- there would still be an element of resume-building looking towards a potential bye or if you did end up as an at-large team.

It’s interesting to think about a 12-team playoff and what might unfold, but we’d really expect those four teams with byes to hold the major advantage in advancing to the semifinals and into the finals.

In addition to the competitive advantage of a bye, there’s also the calendar that would have to be worked out. A team outside of the top-four would have to win four games to take home a National Championship, which is essentially another month of the season. How many players are going to be up for playing an 11 or 12-game season plus a conference championship game and then four more postseason games? You’re also talking about extending the calendar- at least slightly- which means less times for the players to rest in the offseason.

There are a lot details to be ironed out over the coming months, but all we’ll say is that Clemson football fans should be expecting that they’ll soon be looking at an expanded CFB Playoff field rather than with the four spots we began.