Dohnal: What CFP expansion means for the Big 12


Jacob Rice

Iowa State football head coach Matt Campbell talks with the media during the first day of fall camp Aug. 2.

In just the past year, massive changes have been made to college football. From name, image and likeness (NIL) to conference realignment, it can be hard to keep up.

To add to the many changes, the College Football Playoff (CFP) committee voted unanimously Friday to expand the CPF from four teams to 12. The expansion is said to occur in 2026; however, the board of managers for CPF is attempting to encourage sports commissioners to start as soon as 2024 or 2025.

The new 12-team format is said to have the six highest-ranked conference champions guaranteed a spot. The top four of those six will receive a bye week in the first round of playoffs. What about the remaining six? Six at-large spots will be up for grabs, meaning that those spots will be determined by the CFB Playoff selection committee from the top 25.

It feels like a lot to take in, and it may make more sense once it all comes together and takes action. But ultimately, what does this all mean for Iowa State?

Iowa State has only played one game so far this season and has a long way to go in the season.

The first step for any team will be making it into the top 25. Secondly, winning the conference will be the next step.

A problem I see with the new expansion is that even if a team wins their conference, they still have to be a part of the six highest-ranked conference champions in order to be guaranteed a spot. So a team will have to continue to work hard for the spot.

However, I think this is a great way to see a wider variety of teams. Having six teams from six different conferences is unique and something that is not seen often. It will be a great way to bring in more viewers and fans and let teams play teams they may not have ever played before.

The Big 12 is a competitive conference and will continue to be for the years to come. If things stay the way they have been throughout the years, I would expect Baylor or Oklahoma State to potentially be one of the bye week seeds or at least a highest-ranked conference champion.

As for Iowa State, the expansion gives them a better opportunity to make the playoffs; however, they will have to work for it.

Iowa State has the capability to be conference champions but will have to have an almost undefeated season. Additionally, if the conference champion is not in Iowa State’s favor, it will need to be ranked high enough to get the attention of the College Football Playoff Committee.

As this new playoff expansion evolves and is put into action, it will be interesting to see the differences between a four-team playoff and a 12-team playoff.

Nonetheless, I think having a larger playoff will be beneficial for all college football teams and will be an exciting change in the college football world.

Iowa State will need to stay consistent, preserve and win games if they want the opportunity to make it to the playoffs. It’s possible but will take a lot of grit.