Why Chad Weiberg thinks OSU is a winner in the 12-team playoff format

Why Chad Weiberg thinks OSU is a winner in the 12-team playoff format

It’s suddenly much more realistic for Oklahoma State to make its first CFP appearance.

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

| Feb 29, 2024, 9:00am CST

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

Feb 29, 2024, 9:00am CST

(Sam and Ben Hutchens’ OSU newsletter hits inboxes every week. Subscribe here for the latest)

Expanding to the 12-team College Football Playoff will remake bowl season. 

Consider Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg a fan.

“I think it is good,” Weiberg said. “Any time you can increase access. There may be a tipping point where it goes too far, but I think college football wasn’t there with four. Twelve is definitely moving in a good direction. That’s the goal now, is to get to the playoff.”

The Cowboys have not reached the CFP since it was introduced in 2014. A 12-team field gives OSU, a good-but-not-great team with 18 consecutive bowl appearances, a legitimate shot to make the field.

Weiberg said moving to a 12-team playoff had been set in motion before he became OSU’s athletic director in July 2021. He did not contribute to molding the new format.

Starting next season, the four highest-ranked conference champions will be awarded first-round byes. Seeds five through 12 will play first-round games on the higher-ranked team’s campus.

  •     No. 5 hosts No. 12
  •     No. 6 hosts No. 11
  •     No. 7 hosts No. 10
  •     No. 8 hosts No. 9

OSU could make the College Football Playoff through winning the Big 12 Championship. That would result in a first-round bye. If the Cowboys did not win a conference title but had a strong at-large resume (think 2021, when a one-loss OSU team lost to Baylor in the Big 12 championship game) it would result in either hosting a playoff game in Stillwater or traveling to an away playoff game.

The only way to host a CFP game is to have a fantastic resume but no conference championship. While an SEC or Big Ten team with a strong strength of schedule is most likely to achieve that, it hasn’t stopped Weiberg from imagining a home playoff game in Stillwater.

Weiberg said hosting an on-campus playoff game in Stillwater would present a mighty, but welcome, logistical challenge. Weiberg has served on a CFP subcommittee that was devised to think through the added challenges those games present to schools.

First-round playoff games will be played on Dec. 20-21. That is two weeks after conference championship games.  

“What the committee has been helping CFP staff think through is how do you hold hotels for the visiting team?” Weiberg said. “What is that hotel? Because it’s during the holiday season…how does all that work? What does the visiting ticket allotment look like? How does it work with the visiting band?

“We (host games) on campus all the time. But what we don’t do is we don’t usually turn around the game in two and a half weeks. That’s the difference.”

It’s also possible a playoff-bound team could be robbed of the traditional bowl game experience. Take the Cowboys last season. OSU lost in conference championship week but still had almost a month before playing in the Texas Bowl. The Cowboys got to go somewhere warm, Houston, and take advantage of the extra practices making a bowl game affords.

For the four teams that lose a first-round playoff game, two weeks of feverish preparation come to a swift, bitter end. A school may not even leave its home state. No bowl trip to Florida or Arizona to give freshmen reps.

“That’s gonna be the other change… should you get eliminated in that game, whether it’s at this other campus or here, that’s it,” Weiberg said. “You’re done.

“[The 12-team playoff] will be a different experience for the teams and fans. Of course, it will be desired and generate a ton of excitement, but it’ll be different.”

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Sam Hutchens covers Oklahoma State sport for Sellout Crowd. He interned for The Stillwater News Press in 2021 and The Guthrie News Leader in 2022, where he won a first-place OPA award for in-depth reporting. He has also covered sports in southwest Oklahoma for The Lawton Constitution. He strives to tell you the OSU sports stories that you want to tell your friends about. You can email him at [email protected] and connect on Twitter (X) @Sam_Hutchens_

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