How College Football Playoff Expansion impacts Penn State Football

Penn State Football
Penn State Football head coach James Franklin shakes hands with players during warmups before the Indiana Hoosiers versus Penn State Nittany Lions game on October 2, 2021 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

The college football postseason has been changed forever.

Friday, in a move that figures to have major ramifications for Penn State Football’s future National Championship aspirations, the College Football Playoff board managers has voted to approve expanding the College Football Playoff, according to a report by Pete Hamel.

The 12-team model is expected to start in 2026, after the current contract, according to a source. There’s still a chance that it could go earlier, but those details are complicated and would take some time to work out.

— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 2, 2022

The vote was unanimous, and it will be at a minimum implemented for the 2026 season at the end of the current contract.

There is a possibility that it is in place for the last 2 years of the ESPN contract, and fans could experience the 12-team playoff as early as 2024 if the logistics are figured out.

The format is said to be six automatic bids, as well as six at large bids. The top four seeds will get a buy in the first round.

It will be interesting to see how the automatic bid discussion progresses with the SEC and Big 10 gaining a lot of power in the college football world.

One of the main drivers for this expansion was money.

Presidents felt that there was too much money left on the table and it is part of the reason why it may start before 2026.


What does this mean for Penn State Football?

This is a huge step in the Nittany Lions becoming more relevant, on the national stage.

Penn State Football would have been competing in the playoff every season from 2016-2019.

During 2016 and 2017 the Nittany Lions would have been the higher seed and possibly could have hosted a first-round matchup at Beaver Stadium.

While it has been difficult for Penn State Football to break through to the top-four, this opens the door for other teams to get around having giants in their conferences like Ohio State that provide a clear obstacle.

Much like the NFL playoffs once you make it in, anything can happen. Imagine a SEC school coming to Beaver Stadium in November, what an exciting time for all college football fans.

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