Notre Dame football, Power Conferences nearing new playoff deal

It appears that Notre Dame football has given its agreement to a 14-team format in the near future, though it's not official just yet.

Notre Dame wide receiver Deion Colzie (0) does a drill at Notre Dame spring football practice
Notre Dame wide receiver Deion Colzie (0) does a drill at Notre Dame spring football practice / GREG SWIERCZ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 12-team college football format might be dead before we ever got to actually see it. Notre Dame football and the rest of the sports' power conferences believe they have a better idea. And this time it’s going to be rolling out a 14-team format, though not quite what we thought it would be the first time it was unveiled.

The 10 conferences that comprise the FBS level and Notre Dame have agreed to a contract that is expected to expand the CFP to 14 teams in 2026, according to a Friday afternoon report from Heather Dinich and Pete Thamel of ESPN.

“The memorandum of understanding guarantees that the field will have at least 12 teams in 2026 and beyond, but sources indicate there is a strong preference for a 14-team field that includes the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next nine highest-ranked teams,” Dinich and Thamel said.

The new deal is going to be especially lucrative for each team in the Big Ten and the SEC. Those conferences will be getting $21 million annually from the broadcast rights of the playoffs. ACC squads will receive $13 million.

Notre Dame football is on the third tier of payouts, alongside Big 12 programs. Group of Five schools are set to earn just $1.8 million per team. 

Notre Dame football finds agreement with 14-team playoff format

Since 2014, the College Football Playoff has had four teams and no guarantees of any kind for conference champions. This coming season, when the playoffs expand to 12 teams,  the five highest-ranked conference champions will make the CFP automatically, along with seven at-large teams. Notre Dame football expects to be one of those at-large teams.

Now the college football world is going to be seeing change in a very short period of time. At least Notre Dame football seems to be staying abreast of it.