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

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers finally approved the qualifying system for the 12-team CFP which begins next season. Under this format, Penn State would have qualified in six of the last eight seasons.
College Football National Championship trophy
College Football National Championship trophy / Kimberly P. Mitchell / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 12-team College Football Playoff was coming in 2024, but the CFP Board of Managers and Chair, Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State, had yet to approve a format. On Tuesday, it was finally announced that the CFP would adopt the 5-7 model, which states that the five highest-ranked conference champions will automatically qualify and the remaining spots will be filled by the next seven highest-ranked teams as determined by the College Football Playoff committee. 

Keenum 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 proposal was unanimously approved by the CFP Board of Managers and is a tremendous victory for the Group of Five which will essentially be guaranteed a spot now that all but two teams in the Pac-12 have been absorbed by the Big Ten, Big 12, and ACC. 

It had previously been suggested that a 6-6 model would be used to determine the qualifiers, but the death of the Pac-12 necessitated this change to the 5-7 model to avoid two Group of Five teams getting the nod. 

Teams like Penn State, which had routinely been knocking on the door of the four-team playoff, but never broke through had been patiently awaiting the arrival of the expanded playoff, and now James Franklin knows the exact criteria he needs to meet to give the Nittany Lions a chance to win a National Championship and appease a fanbase that grows more and more agitated with each passing season. 

With this model in place, Penn State would have qualified for the playoff in six of the last eight seasons (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, 2023).