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College football will expand to a 12-team College Football Playoff for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. After decades of polls deciding the national champion (1936-1991) and early failed attempts to create a national championship game such as the Bowl Coalition (1992-1994) and the Bowl Alliance (1995-1997), the Bowl Championship Series was born. The BCS lasted from 1998 to 2013, when the College Football Playoff was introduced and the four-team CFP model remained for a decade (2014-2023).

Now the CFP will feature 12 teams, with the top five conference champions receiving automatic berths. The top four of those champions will receive a first-round bye (likely the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 champions). The seven at-large teams and the fifth conference champion (likely from the Group of Five) will be seeded 5th through 12th and round out the field with the first round of play.

It remains to be seen how the playoff committee will divide teams with better records from easier conferences like the Big 12 and ACC against teams with worse records from harder conferences like the Big 10 and SEC, but one college football analyst believes the Oklahoma Sooners' new league will be well represented in December.

Andy Staples of On3 gave ten of his predictions for the 2024 college football season. Among the most notable was that the SEC would receive five of the twelve spots in the new expanded CFP.

“It's not quite the same because you can't just transfer Texas or Oklahoma's playoff appearances to the SEC because of how the automatic bids work and because we don't know if those teams would have had a different record in a different league, but seven teams that will be in the SEC in 2024 (Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri, LSU, Oklahoma) finished in the top 13 last season,” Staples said. “The No. 12 team will likely be displaced by the highest-seeded champion of the Group of Five, but the power conferences are so big now that the champions of all four will likely finish in the top 11. That would prevent anyone else from getting knocked out.”

Staples also backed up his prediction by pointing out the tremendous competition that SEC teams will face each week.

“The SEC schedules are the main reason for this prediction,” Staples said. “Alabama and Georgia have tougher conference schedules, but they're also talented enough to handle it. Texas and Ole Miss seem to have CFP-ready rosters and fairly manageable schedules. Missouri and Tennessee may not be perfect, but they'll be good and they've done well in the schedule draw. Oklahoma and LSU are Oklahoma and LSU; they're almost always a threat to win games by double-digit wins. That's a lot of legitimate contenders, and it's quite reasonable that five-eighths of that group could finish in the top 11.”

Many in the new SEC division are confident in Staples' comments and hope that the league's depth and competitive nature will be rewarded.

For example, should a 9-3 SEC team that suffered three close losses to playoff-caliber teams be left out in favor of a 10-2 ACC team that hasn't played at the same level? That's the answer Oklahoma and SEC fans are waiting for from the committee for the first time this winter.

Contact/Follow us @SoonersWire on X and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Oklahoma news, notes and opinions. You can also follow Aaron on X @AaronGelvin.

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