Two years of secret meetings among four of college football's elite formulated the 12-team playoff proposal

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Last week we all shared in the excitement and were enamored with the endless possibilities upon news that the College Football Playoff was proposing an expansion from a 4-team playoff to a 12-team playoff.

While fans of college football have seen what has been pitched and we've covered the major financial implications, what had not yet been covered was the process that led to the 12-team playoff model.

Ross Dellenger put together a nice piece that was published for SI today highlighting how the decision was driven by four men who met a number of times in secrecy over the course of the last two years. That initial group consisted of SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, longtime Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson (who represented the interests of Group of Five programs), and Notre Dame director of athletics and former attorney Jack Swarbrick.

When the pandemic hit, they admit that their work on the project slowed to a crawl as they were forced to go from productive in-person meetings filled with fun what-if scenarios and brackets taped to the walls to trying to adjust to meeting virtually for over a year.

As a group, they scribbled potential scenarios on giant sheets of paper and played out scenario after scenario from years past using the 12-team model and trying to predict the potential chain reaction that may be created with each critical decision.

Some of the ideas that got kicked around were an eight team model, which was popular among fans early on but presented issues that the four men ultimately felt were "counterinuitive" to expansion. The 24-team model, like used at in the FCS playoff never really got serious consideration because it would create too many extra games.

What started as some notes hastily scribbled on the back of an envelope turned into hundreds of hours of meeting time, and eventually became the 12-team model that we read about last week.

The group's efforts will come to a head next Tuesday, where the Board of Managers will ultimately either encourage them to continue on with their process, or they wish to stay with four teams.

Head here to read Dellenger's full piece, which has some really interesting details and some pretty exclusive behind-the-scenes stories on the process from those involved.