NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Georgia at Alabama

Change is coming to the College Football Playoff in a big way next season. The postseason tournament will grow from four teams to 12. As of now, the 12 teams in the bracket will include the six highest-rated conference champions, according to the CFP Rankings, and the next six highest-ranked programs. The top four conference champions will get byes into the quarterfinals. Should fewer than six conferences be represented, I will project however many are needed to get to six. 

There is a legitimate chance that format will be adjusted to account for the demise of the Pac-12. That could result in something as simple as guaranteeing playoff spots for only the top five conference champions (with seven at-large bids) or something more drastic, such as doing away with automatic qualifiers entirely.

We probably wish we had that format this season. For certain, Florida State does after being left out of the College Football Playoff despite an undefeated season. Those days are over now, at least for the major conferences. In fact, in this playoff bracket the Seminoles have a chance to beat Alabama head-to-head.

Instead of complaining about selection in the future, however, teams will complain about seed, especially if they felt they should get a bye.

In last week's bracket, Texas and Alabama were not among the teams getting byes. Alabama was not even a projected conference champion then. What a difference a week makes.

Liberty makes its debut in the 12-team bracket. The Flames won Conference USA and Tulane lost to SMU in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game to put Liberty into the field.

This bracket has a couple of conference games in the opening round. Both lower seeds lost the regular-season matchup, although I am disappointed that we do not have any warm weather teams traveling north.

Let's take a look at how the 12-team playoff would look after the final CFP Rankings release of the 2023 season.

(9) Missouri at (8) Oregon
Winner advances to play (1) Michigan*

(12) Liberty* at (5) Florida State
Winner advances to play (4) Alabama

(11) Ole Miss at (6) Georgia
Winner advances to play (3) Texas*

(10) Penn State at (7) Ohio State
Winner advances to play (2) Washington*

* Conference champion