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Report: 14-team CFP format gaining momentum

Jamie Schwaberow / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The College Football Playoff appears to be gaining positive momentum toward establishing a 14-team playoff format beginning in 2026, sources told ESPN's Pete Thamel and Heather Dinich.

The proposed 14-team format would see the Big Ten and SEC each receive three automatic qualifiers, with the ACC and Big 12 receiving two, and the best Group of 5 team qualifying for the postseason as well. There would be three at-large seeds available for the highest-ranked teams that don't earn automatic seeding.

There's an effort by the board to have an agreement in place in the coming weeks, according to CFP executive director Bill Hancock. While there's reportedly optimism that a deal could be struck, the proposal isn't the only model being discussed and isn't close to being finalized.

The goal is for the CFP's commissioner group to re-convene next week to further discuss the topic. Hancock indicated that there's a need for the deal to be done in March.

Three of the major issues regarding further playoff expansion include access to automatic qualification, division of revenue, and how the group will be governed, according to Thamel and Dinich.

Both the SEC and Big Ten stand to earn somewhere between 25% and 30% of the CFP revenue. The Big 12 and ACC would receive between 15% and 20%, while other leagues would get between 6% and 10%. Notre Dame, which is an independent in football, would earn 1% under the proposal, per Thamel and Dinich.

Earlier this month, the CFP board unanimously approved expanding the playoff field to a 12-team format, adopting a 5+7 model that would award a playoff spot to the five highest-ranked conference champions.

Prior to expansion, the CFP began with a four-team format since its inception in 2014.

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