Change is coming to CFP. What will it look like?

Change is coming to the next iteration of the College Football Playoff.

Get ready for more automatic qualifiers.

In a nine-hour meeting on Wednesday in Dallas, CFP leaders explored new playoff models that included granting multiple automatic qualifiers to the four power conferences in a 14-team format — an expected move in the SEC and Big Ten’s push to have more access. No final decision was made on a format, but a range of options to expand the AQ structure were discussed by the CFP Management Committee, the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director.

The models are now expected to be further examined and socialized with league leaders.

Multiple iterations of an AQ structure were proposed, granting a varying number of auto bids to the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big 12, according to those with knowledge of the discussions. The Group of Five retained its singular automatic qualifying spot in several of the models. As many as 12 automatic qualifiers were discussed in a 14-team field, a playoff that would include byes to the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked teams.

As Yahoo Sports previously reported, the Big Ten was expected to seek as many as four automatic qualifiers for its league and, presumably, the SEC. The meeting was described by executive director Bill Hancock as productive — a sign of compromise and collegiality to modifications to the current format.

For the 2024 and 2025 playoff, the CFP is bound to a 5+7 12-team format, which grants automatic qualifiers to the five highest-ranked conference champions and at-large spots to the next seven highest-ranked teams. However, the realignment wave that swept the sport last summer has triggered momentum for more access among those leagues that expanded, especially the SEC and Big Ten, which will encompass a combined 34 teams and many of the biggest brands in the sport.

The additional playoff games in a 14-team bracket would, presumably, be played at the home field of the higher seed based on the current format. In the current 12-team format, the four highest-ranked conference champions earn a bye while seeds Nos. 5-8 host seeds 9-12 in first-round games. Quarterfinals and semifinals are held at bowl sites.

More automatic qualifying bids could increase the value of the regular season as teams jockey to position themselves in the conference standings. AQs also remove the subjectivity from a CFP selection committee that came under fire last season for leaving out ACC champion Florida State.

However, the high number of AQs — whether four, three or two — may remove some of the incentive to hold conference championship games. Conference standings are expected to determine AQs, with conference title games — for now — included in that formula. The future of league title games in an expanded playoff is an issue that Yahoo Sports explored in a story in November. Several CFP and college leaders acknowledged that a deeper examination of championship games is necessary.

CFP leaders are working on a somewhat urgent timeline. The 10 FBS leagues and Notre Dame are bound together by the CFP TV contract with ESPN, a deal that expires after the 2025 playoff. Despite negotiations with ESPN to extend the deal, no agreement has been reached, predominantly because of several unresolved issues, including the format and revenue-sharing model for a playoff beyond 2025.

Such issues need to be resolved within a month, Hancock said.