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During the first decade of the College Football Playoff, just one Group of Five team reached the four-team field. That was Cincinnati during the 2021 season, and the Bearcats had to stack consecutive unbeaten regular seasons before they were granted a ticket to the party.

Now, as the CFP expands to 12 teams for the 2024 season, the Group of Five is guaranteed access for the first time in playoff history. Whether that will remain the case long-term is unclear. But in the short-term, the highest-ranked G5 team will have a spot in the field.

Under the new format, Liberty would have represented the Group of Five during the 2023 season as the Flames came in at No. 23 in the final CFP rankings with 13-0 record before getting smacked by Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. The Flames narrowly edged No. 24 SMU as the highest-ranked G5 team.

Moving forward, the conversations and debates around the Group of Five hierarchy will take an increasingly significant place in college football’s discourse. A spot in the CFP brings prestige, payout and the chance to compete for a national title.

With spring practices in the rearview mirror, CBS Sports is releasing its first 2024 Group of Five Power Rankings.

Group of Five post-spring power rankings

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