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What does the College Football Playoff expansion mean for the MAC?

DETROIT-- Starting in the 2024-25 football season, the College Football Playoff will expand from four to 12 teams.

The four highest-ranked teams will receive first-round byes and the rest of the higher seeds will opt to host their game at home or at a site of their choice.

When you think of CFB playoff teams, you think of an undefeated Alabama, an 8-1 Ohio State, you definitely don’t think outside of the power 5 teams, but what will the expansion do for conferences like the Mid-American Conference?


“We’ve been involved in the expansion of the event. We’re involved in trying to work out the details around it, and we fully expect to have teams that get an opportunity to participate in it,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said.

Historically, MAC teams’ fate lies in the hands of one, maybe two games, as the Mid-American Conference is purposefully balanced. The last time a MAC team had an undefeated season was 2016, before Western Michigan fell 24-16 to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

“I look at the balance that we have in this conference, and I think that’s what makes good television is anybody can beat anybody,” Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain said.

“It’s something we’re talking about internally. What is the right way we should be scheduling it? Are we doing the right thing? Is there something different we should be doing? But clearly, whether it’s non-conference games or conference games, what you know is you’re gonna need to win most of those,” Steinbrecher said.


Speaking with the commissioner,  one thing was clear– the integrity of the conference is not something that will dull in the processes to come regarding the playoff expansion.

“We just make a lot of sense for each other. We just flat out do, and we need to continue. You don’t take that for granted,” the commissioner said. “And so you continue to be attentive to the needs of your member institutions and make sure we address those things. But for a host of reasons, we’ve been very stable and we cherish that and we work hard to hold onto that.”

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