Influential voices in college football are contemplating a possible expansion from four to eight teams in the College Football Playoff, according to The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach.
Some consider the selection committee to be overly deferent to the SEC and unfair to teams such as UCF, which went undefeated for two straight seasons.
"Everyone has the same feeling; expansion is inevitable," said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who served on the CFP's selection committee from 2014-16. "When you can do it, and I think we need to serve more people. I think four was the right way to get started. In my opinion, we need to take a look of adding more teams into the playoff, giving more opportunities."
Alvarez added: "I don’t know whether we're serving all of our people now, when you have some leagues - our league (the Big Ten) as an example. Two years in a row, we don't have anyone represented. The Big 12's been the same way. The Pac-12's been the same way."
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week that expansion is "an appropriate thing to begin thinking about."
An expansion may receive enough support before the current contract with ESPN, the official CFP broadcast partner, expires in 2026. The year being eyed for possible change is 2020, the halfway point for the contract.
Former Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas has circulated a plan for an eight-team format that would eliminate conference championship games. The bracket would include the Power 5 conference champions, the top Group of 5 champion, and two at-large selections.
The management committee meets with the CFP's board of managers on Jan. 7, and it's possible one of the parties initiates the conversation that begins the process of switching to an eight-team playoff.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey responded in a statement, saying "all conference championship games are important and relevant" and predicting "success will continue for the current CFP format."