The College Football Playoff (CFP) has been a unique way for NCAA teams to compete for a national championship since its inception in 2014. However, its format is on the cusp of change after a pivotal agreement between the FBS conferences and Notre Dame.

College Football Playoff in route to include a 14-team field

All 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame (an FBS independent) are pushing to agree to a contract that will move a step closer to the CFP boasting 14 teams in the competition, per ESPN. All parties need to inform the CFP if they will participate in the 2026 playoff and beyond by Friday.

The agreement would arrange further financial separation between the restructured Big Ten and SEC from the rest of the collegiate athletic conferences. The financial distribution between teams of the proposed 14-member CFP will look different.

As such, the Big Ten and SEC would make more than $21 million per school from the competition. Meanwhile, schools from the ACC would garner over $13 million, while Big 12 schools would make more than $12 million. Notre Dame is expected to make close to $12 million as well.

Furthermore, sources informed ESPN there will be a financial incentive for independent schools that make the CFP. These programs include Notre Dame, Army West Point, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Lastly, the Group of Five schools (AAC, CUSA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt) is projected to earn just under $1.8 million.

Each school participant in the CFP should earn more than in previous years. However, these numbers are just estimates, as the landscape is ever-changing.

Making room for historical College Football Playoff competition in the NCAA

The four-team playoff format makes it tough for all deserving teams to compete. For example, fans and analysts were bummed when the reigning champion Georgia Bulldogs did not make the 2024 Playoff.

Georgia went undefeated the entire year, but their loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship excluded them from competition.

The new proposed CFP format will give more schools like Georgia the chance to compete at the highest level without the need to win their conference title. All in all, it will be interesting to see how things play out for 2026 and beyond.