College Football Super League: The CFN 136-Team Proposal

    Amidst rumors of a college football super league, CFN proposes a 136-team league featuring promotion, relegation, and a new playoff format.

    There have reportedly been talks of an 80-team College Football Super League as the teams seek a solution to modern college football outside of the NCAA’s jurisdiction. The issues with this initial plan are numerous: The conferences are too big, scheduling is complicated, and the power is concentrated in the hands of a few elites.

    The problem isn’t a super league but a poorly planned super league.

    So what if someone did it… better?

    Here’s my Super League solution to college football’s problems, modeled after European soccer leagues: preserving rivalries, regional scheduling, and finally giving the sport a common sense playoff, without excluding any team based on the logo on their helmets or the pockets of their boosters.

    Here’s what a 136-team “College Football Super League” would look like and why it could work.

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    College Football Super League: A 136-Team Overhaul of the Sport

    I took this inspiration from European soccer, which I am a huge fan of.

    If you’re unfamiliar with the key differences, they are the extra emphasis on the regular season and the existence of relegation and promotion.

    By introducing a relegation system to college football, we’re able to preserve some of the sport’s most endearing features, namely its regionality, rivalries, and the parity that once existed.

    There are two tiers of four regional conferences, each split into equal divisions. The two-tiered system is similar to the current FBS (Tier 1) and FCS (Tier 2) system. However, in this model, the tiers are connected, with the eight division winners in Tier 2 swapping with the eight teams that finish at the bottom of the Tier 1 divisions. 

    Not only does this allow every team the chance to eventually compete for championships, but it dramatically increases the amount of important games. Lower division games are now for the chance to move into the upper division where the stakes, viewership, and generated revenue are substantially higher.

    Conversely, games between Tier 1’s worst teams suddenly become “Winner stays, loser drops” contests.

    There are 136 teams in this model, 64 in Tier 1 and 72 in Tier 2. New FBS school Kennesaw State and FCS powers North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Montana, Montana State, and Idaho join Tier 2. The beautiful part is that the rest of the FCS schools could join as a Tier 3 or Tier 4 team to gain access to the upper reaches of the sport.

    When determining starting conferences, tiers, and divisions, I prioritized regionality, rivalries, and competitive balance. Here’s how those conferences line up.

    College Football Super League: Tier 1

    West America Conference (West Division)

    • Washington Huskies
    • Washington State Cougars
    • Stanford Cardinal
    • USC Trojans
    • UCLA Bruins
    • Oregon Ducks
    • Oregon State Beavers
    • Boise State Broncos

    West America Conference (East Division)

    • Nebraska Cornhuskers
    • Colorado Buffaloes
    • Kansas Jayhawks
    • Kansas State Wildcats
    • Northwestern Wildcats
    • Utah Utes
    • Arizona Wildcats
    • Arizona State Sun Devils

    Middle America Conference (North Division)

    • Iowa Hawkeyes
    • Iowa State Cyclones
    • Ohio State Buckeyes
    • Michigan Wolverines
    • Michigan State Spartans
    • Purdue Boilermakers
    • Wisconsin Badgers
    • Minnesota Golden Gophers

    Middle America Conference (South Division)

    • Texas Longhorns
    • Texas A&M Aggies
    • Baylor Bears
    • West Virginia Mountaineers
    • Oklahoma Sooners
    • Oklahoma State Cowboys
    • Texas Tech Red Raiders
    • TCU Horned Frogs

    East Coast Conference (North Division)

    • Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    • Rutgers Scarlet Knights
    • Syracuse Orange
    • Penn State Nittany Lions
    • Pittsburgh Panthers
    • Boston College Eagles
    • Illinois Fighting Illini
    • Indiana Hoosiers

    East Coast Conference (South Division)

    • North Carolina Tar Heels
    • Vanderbilt Commodores
    • Duke Blue Devils
    • Maryland Terrapins
    • Virginia Tech Hokies
    • Virginia Cavaliers
    • NC State Wolfpack
    • Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    Southeast America Conference (North Division)

    • South Carolina Gamecocks
    • Clemson Tigers
    • Tennessee Volunteers
    • Kentucky Wildcats
    • Arkansas Razorbacks
    • Louisville Cardinals
    • Georgia Bulldogs
    • Missouri Tigers

    Southeast America Conference (South Division)

    • LSU Tigers
    • Ole Miss Rebels
    • Mississippi State Bulldogs
    • Alabama Crimson Tide
    • Auburn Tigers
    • Miami (FL) Hurricanes
    • Florida State Seminoles
    • Florida Gators

    College Football Super League: Tier 2

    West America Conference (West Division)

    • San Diego State Aztecs
    • Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
    • UNLV Rebels
    • San Jose State Spartans
    • Fresno State Bulldogs
    • Nevada Wolf Pack
    • Montana Grizzlies
    • Eastern Washington Eagles
    • Montana State Bobcats

    West America Conference (East Division)

    • Utah State Aggies
    • Air Force Falcons
    • Colorado State Rams
    • New Mexico Lobos
    • New Mexico State Aggies
    • North Dakota State Bison
    • Idaho Vandals
    • Wyoming Cowboys
    • South Dakota State Jackrabbits

    Middle America Conference (North Division)

    • Toledo Rockets
    • Akron Zips
    • Ohio Bobcats
    • Miami (OH) RedHawks
    • Kent State Golden Flashes
    • Central Michigan Chippewas
    • Eastern Michigan Eagles
    • Western Michigan Broncos
    • Northern Illinois Huskies

    Middle America Conference (South Division)

    • Rice Owls
    • UTEP Miners
    • UTSA Roadrunners
    • North Texas Mean Green
    • SMU Mustangs
    • Tulsa Golden Hurricane
    • Texas State Bobcats
    • Houston Cougars
    • Sam Houston Bearkats

    East Coast Conference (North Division)

    • UMass Minutemen
    • Buffalo Bulls
    • Bowling Green Falcons
    • Navy Midshipmen
    • Ball State Cardinals
    • Cincinnati Bearcats
    • UConn Huskies
    • Temple Owls
    • Army Black Knights

    East Coast Conference (South Division)

    • Charlotte 49ers
    • Marshall Thundering Herd
    • Old Dominion Monarchs
    • East Carolina Pirates
    • Liberty Flames
    • Appalachian State Mountaineers
    • Georgia State Panthers
    • James Madison Dukes
    • Georgia Southern Eagles

    Southeast America Conference (North Division)

    • Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
    • Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
    • Memphis Tigers
    • Georgia Tech Yellowjackets
    • Arkansas State Red Wolves
    • Southern Miss Golden Eagles
    • South Alabama Jaguars
    • Troy Trojans
    • Jacksonville State Gamecocks

    Southeast America Conference (South Division)

    • Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
    • Florida Atlantic Owls
    • Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
    • UCF Knights
    • USF Bulls
    • Tulane Green Wave
    • Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
    • Kennesaw State Owls
    • FIU Golden Panthers

    College Football Super League Rules


    Every conference team plays a standard 12-game schedule. Each team plays every team in its division, one cross-divisional game that rotates each year, and one team from each of the other conferences in that tier. 

    For each Tier 1 team, that amounts to seven divisional games, one cross-divisional game that counts towards its overall conference record, three games against other top-tier teams and one free game.

    MORE: 2024 College Football Realignment

    For each Tier 2 team, that amounts to eight divisional games, one cross-divisional game that counts towards its overall conference record, and three games against other Tier 2 teams. Tier 2 teams can play an additional (13th) game against a Tier 1 opponent, splitting revenue from that contest equally with its opponent.


    Division winners and losers are decided by conference record alone. To encourage teams to schedule quality non-conference opponents, games outside the conference will not affect conference standings.

    Instead, the first tiebreaker will be conference point differential. The second tiebreaker is offensive points scored in conference. If teams are somehow tied after both tiebreakers, the team with the least penalty yardage will be declared the division winner.

    Postseason Play

    This postseason format is simpler and less controversial than anything the sport has ever seen, based on record instead of rankings. The winners of each division in a conference will play each other in the conference championship the week after the regular season in a game that doubles as a National Quarterfinal.

    The Southeast America Conference Champion and the East Coast Conference Champion will then play one National Semifinal. At the same time, the West America Conference and Middle America Conference Champions will play the other, both one week after the conference championships.

    Three weeks after that, the remaining two teams will play for the National Championship.

    Tier 2 will have a similar postseason format involving the eight teams awaiting offseason promotion. Between the Semifinal and National Championship games, there will be 18 bowl games: 10 involving Tier 1 teams, four involving Tier 2 teams, and four involving one Tier 1 and one Tier 2 team.


    As indicated above, there are four conferences with two divisions in each tier. Since the conferences are mainly regional, the Tier 2 conferences of the same name feed into the Tier 1 conferences. In the current FBS system, this would be like the Sun Belt and SEC forming a strategic alliance.

    While the winners of each top-tier division play each other for the chance to go to the National Semifinals, the two worst teams (seventh and eighth) in each division will play each other for the right to stay in their current division. The loser of each relegation playoff game (one from each Tier 1 division, eight total) will be relegated to Tier 2. Those teams will remain in Tier 2 until earning their way back into the sport’s top tier.

    MORE: 2025 College Football Realignment

    Meanwhile, the winner of each Tier 2 Division will automatically gain promotion to the corresponding division in Tier 1, effectively replacing the loser of that Division’s Relegation Playoff Game.

    Each year, the upper echelon of college football would look a bit different. While teams in the lower tier might not be allowed to compete for a National Championship, any team can climb the ranks and compete at the sport’s highest level.

    Revenue Sharing

    Here’s one key to a College Football Super League: In this model, one network would buy the rights to conference games, paying the conferences in the top tier more than the conferences in the bottom tier.

    However, there’s a twist. Teams get to keep 80% of what their games generate while sharing the remaining 20% with the rest of the conference. The sport’s biggest draws will receive a higher percentage of the money they bring their conferences, while teams at the lower end of Tier 1 will still be rewarded for being in the top league.

    Bowl and playoff game revenue will be shared similarly.

    This encourages teams to schedule high-profile games that will bring more viewers and money to their schools.

    Transfer Portal

    A bold College Football Super League proposal deserves bold transfer portal guidance. Again, I’ve repurposed some ideas from European soccer for college football.

    First, when players sign with their school of choice, they will sign a 2-year deal with that team. Additionally, players are limited to one transfer per calendar year. Both of these prevent players from transferring at every opportunity.

    KEEP READING: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker 

    Additionally, teams may build their rosters in whichever manner they please under the 85 scholarship limit, but if transfers play more than 25% of a team’s snaps in a game, that team will forfeit half of its revenue from that game to the conference.

    Think of it as the luxury tax in baseball or basketball. Teams that want to go all in on transfers can do so without harming the athletes themselves. Winning will eventually offset the costs, but this should still make teams more apprehensive about simply poaching all of their players from other programs.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!


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