Obviously the title of this thread should refer to FCS Playoffs (not FBS Playoffs, which we all wish for, but may never happen at this rate)....
CAA currently sponsors football for 12 teams (6 CAA teams + 6 guests - UMass, Rhode Island, Richmond of the A-10, Villanova of the BE, and Maine and New Hampshire of the AE). CAA has tow more football programs coming on line.... ODU and Georgia State. CAA Commissioner Yeager says there are no plans to eject any guest teams, so plan is to either have 14 football teams or see some guest teams leave voluntarily. NO SUCH PLANS appear to be in the works at present.
Here's the deal with expanding the FCS playoffs. Currently there are 8 conferences in FCS with an automatic qualifier (AQ).
Big Sky, Gateway, Southland, OVC, MEAC, SoCon, CAA, and Patriot. Ivy has been eligible to apply for an AQ for some time, but refuses for some strange (elitist ? I don't know) reason.
Southland is also eligible, however, they choose not to participate, and instead play a conference championship between their 2 divisions, which the NCAA does not sanction, and that would invalidate any Southland AQ.
The NEC has upgraded their football by adding more scholarships and applied for an AQ. The NCAA had no reason to deny them, so they were accepted.
The Big South will be at 6 and eligible once Presbyterian completes their transition from D-II. However, they pulled in Stony Brook to give them 6 for this interim period (through at least 2010), and they will be granted an AQ if they haven't already.
Because the NCAA runs the FCS Championship tourney, and because NCAA by-laws state that at least half of all bracket slots be reserved for AT-LARGE teams, adding AQ's #9 and #10 require adding AT-LARGE slots #9 and #10, as well. So the tourney will expand from 16 to 20 teams. This necessitates a new first round of "play-in games", as I will refer to them.
12 teams will receive BYES, and the lowest 8 will play 4 games the initial week to narrow the field to the current 16.
I fully expect that within another 5 years, the tourney will go to 24 - 8 first-round BYES, and 16 teams facing off to earn the other 8 quarter-final slots. A 24-team tourney can accommodate AQ's #11 and #12.
These may be needed if:
1) the Great West Football Conference grows to 6 teams
2) Southland gives up their conference championship and applies for an AQ
3) Pioneer / Ivy League apply for AQ's
4) Some CAA guest schools leave CAA football and start up an new league (perhaps sponsored by the American East Conference)... Maine, New Hampshire, UMass, Rhode Island, Stony Brook, Albany, Central Connecticut ??? that would be eliegible for an AQ in short order....
All of this is in play and some of these things may come to pass in the next few years. I would say that Item 3) is the LEAST likely...