How will the new College Football Playoff configuration impact Boise State?

Boise State fans cheering at a football game
Claire Keener | The Arbiter

“The Boise State Broncos win the 2026 National College Football Playoff Championships.”

This potential statement might not be far-fetched after the College Football Playoff board of managers unanimously voted to expand the playoffs from four teams, to 12.

In the past, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference teams have dominated the College Football Playoff National Championship podium. 

The current format, which entails the top four teams playing against each other, doesn’t give equal opportunities to other schools to win the highly coveted CFP National Championship Trophy.

With the new College Football Playoff (CFP) layout, 12 teams in the Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will participate in an elimination-style competition in order to crown the national champions.

The larger field will begin with the 2026 season, though the College Football Management Committee will look into possibly moving up to the 12-team field for the 2024 or 2025 season.

The 12-team playoff will be made up of the six conference champions ranked highest by the committee, with no minimum ranking requirement, and the six highest-ranked teams not among the conference champions. 

Boise State fans cheering at a football game
[Photo of the Boise State student section at Albertsons Stadium.]
Claire Keener | The Arbiter

The four highest-ranked conference champions will be ranked No. 1 through No. 4 and will receive a first-round bye. 

The other eight CFP teams would play in the first round. The matchups would be as follows: No. 12 at No. 5, No. 11 at No. 6, No. 10 at No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8. Games are to be held at the higher seed’s campus site or another location selected by the higher seed.

The impacts of an expanded playoff are far and wide, especially if it happens within two years. 

Expansion would generate a combined $450 million in estimated additional revenue in 2024 and 2025, some of which may be distributed for athlete benefits such as health care and family travel. 

“[Next thing] will be the beginning of the implementation process,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said in his initial statement. “I’d say identify the steps that need to be taken to implement in 2026 but also what might need to be done in ’24 and ’25. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

With the most recent major success being the 2019 Mountain West Champions, the Boise State Bronco football team can set their sights on something bigger. 

As the new expansion is set to be implemented in the next few years, Boise State will have a possible path to a National Championship title. 

“Anytime you can provide hope for your fan base, it makes every game meaningful and it makes seasons that much more meaningful,” Boise State Athletic Director Jeramiah Dickey said to reporters pertaining to the new expansion.

Bronco football head coach Andy Avalos is on a five-year contract with the Broncos until 2024. Avalos could be one of the first Bronco head coaches to lead the team to a national title. 

Although achieving this title seems like a stretch, it’s a hopeful thought for many Boise State fans. 

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