My Case for a College Football Playoff Expansion

December 2, 2018

The College Football Playoff Selection process is underway to determine which 4 teams will be playing in this years College Football Playoffs. This year features 3 undefeated teams likely in the playoffs with 3 other 1 loss teams (and UCF) with cases on why they should make the playoffs. Many people argue for expansion of the current playoff structure to 8 or even 16 teams and a lot of people have good cases on why the current structure should be expanded. 


Some of the main arguments against expanding the structure of the playoffs system including having to play extra games and the fact that the 8th best team or even 16th best team really don't have a shot at winning it all. Good arguments on both sides especially when you think about how much these players probably get beat up and bruised in these playoff match ups. I however think that neither of those arguments are good enough. 


Unlike most people, I have a different idea for how college football should expand. Instead of going to 8 or 16 teams I think we should move to a 64 team playoff system like college basketball and just have every power 5 team start the playoffs after 5 regular season games...I'm joking obviously but that would be crazy!!

My proposal instead features a 6 team playoff where each Power 5 conference champion makes it in with 1 "at large" team that didn't win their conference or that may be from a group of 5 conference. So you would have the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, and PAC 12 Champion plus one other team.


Now, its not an automatic bid if you win your conference because there could be years where you get teams with 4 or 5 losses winning their conference. My proposal would require a conference champion to have 2 or less losses to make it. So if each conference champion has 2 or less losses then they all make it with one additional team. If one or more conference champion has more than 2 losses then you would just add in another at large team.


Now how will this be broken down? First off, the top 2 teams would get a bye in the first round and have a match up of (#3 vs #6) and (#4 vs #5) with the higher ranked teams hosting the games at their stadiums. I also think that any at-large team has to be either #5 or #6 forcing them to play on the road in the first round. The exception would be if that at-large team is an undefeated Independent school (like Notre Dame this year). If for some crazy reason there are 3 conference champions who finish with 3 or more losses and you get 3 at large teams then they will take spots 4, 5, and 6. By making the at large teams play on the road that rewards teams that won their conferences. 

Following the 2 first round games you would move to what we have today where you have the #1 team playing the winner of the 4v5 game in one of the major bowls and the #2 team face off against the winner of the 3v6 game in another of the major bowls like how it is currently done.


Now, people may argue that you don't need to expand to more teams at this point. At this point, we have had 4 college football playoffs so far and twice the 4 seed has won it all. That tells me that maybe the 5th or 6th best team could win it too, or at least have a shot at it. I also think if the games are spread out enough it won't be that big of an issue to play potentially 3 games. I think that the play-in-games should be 2 Saturdays after the conference championships and then the "final 4" being New Years weekend like how it traditionally is. After that, the national championship game would be played a week later on the Monday night the following week like how it's done currently.


Now to get down to it, how would this look this season? Well, I think my formula works well for this season in particular. We would have Alabama, Clemson, as the 1 and 2 seeds representing the SEC and ACC champions and I don't think many people would argue that. We would then have Notre Dame who is an undefeated independent team as the 3 seed, with Oklahoma most likely getting the 4th seed representing the Big 12. After that it would come down to where Ohio State goes as the Big 10 champion and then who you want as the other independent since the PAC12 champion Washington had 3 losses. I would say you put Ohio State as the 5th seed with Georgia as the 6th partially because Ohio State has 1 loss to Georgia's 2 and because it could set up a Georgia vs Alabama re-match in the National Championship.

As you can see in the picture above that is what the bracket would look like with Notre Dame hosting Georgia with the winner playing Clemson and Oklahoma hosting Ohio State with the winner facing Alabama. I think this would allow every conference champion with a reasonable argument to make it in as well as another team or two with other great arguments like Georgia who many people still see as one of the 4 best teams in the nation.

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