5-7 model approved for 12-team College Football Playoff for 2024 season

The Georgia Bulldogs have been a mainstay in the four-team College Football Playoff era, but now things will be even easier with three additional at-large spots added and five automatic qualifier spots in the 12-team playoff for conference champions.
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; A general view of the College Football Playoff logo on a case on
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; A general view of the College Football Playoff logo on a case on / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have much trouble making the College Football Playoff under the four-team system, with three appearances since Smart took over in 2016. However, the Bulldogs would have gotten to play for a national champion four additional times under the new 12-team format which was officially approved and announced on Wednesday. 

The expansion to a 12-team CFP format had been known, but the qualification requirements were still in the air until the College Football Playoff Board of Managers announced the 5-7 model. The five highest-ranked conference champions will automatically qualify for the CFP. The next seven spots will be given to the next seven highest-ranked teams as determined by the College Football Playoff committee. 

Chair of the CFP Board of Managers, Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State said, “This is a very logical adjustment for the College Football Playoff based on the evolution of our conference structures since the board first adopted this new format in September 2022.”

The changes he references were most notably the death of the Pac-12 which allowed a 5-7 model instead of a previously floated 6-6 model that would ensure a spot for the Group of Five. Now, in the 5-7 model, the Group of Five will almost certainly be guaranteed a spot unless something bizarre occurs with Washington State and Oregon State, the only two remaining members of the Pac-12, which technically still qualifies as a conference next season. 

Georgia has finished at No. 5 twice during the four-team era, in 2018 and 2019, and last season narrowly missed the CFP after an SEC title game loss to Alabama dropped the team to sixth in the final poll. 

Smart hasn’t taken many over his tenure in Athens, but this new system allows a team like Georgia to survive a loss or even two, which might be necessary with the additions of Oklahoma and Texas to the already-loaded SEC.