College Football Playoff Will Be Expanding, Eventually
About dang time.
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What will a future playoff look like?
College football has always done what’s best for determing its champion, until it wasn’t. There was the Bowl Alliance, the Bowl Collation, that led to the BCS and now the current four-team playoff.
Usually, the change is made due to more money or the threat of a lawsuit which led to more access via the BCS era when its was nearly impossible for a non-power team to make a bowl game.
These small changes have allowed for a better way to crown a champion. The latest news had the College Football Playoff committee announcing they came up with dozens upon dozens of scenarios for a new playoff format ranging from six to 16 teams.
(College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill) Hancock said first and foremost, the working group conveyed to the management committee that it continues to support and believe in the four-team playoff as it is currently constituted.
In its analysis, the working group has reviewed some 63 possibilities for change. These included 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 16-team options, each with a variety of different scenarios.
The group informed the management committee that it continues its work and anticipates making a report to the management committee about the future format at an upcoming meeting.
The funny thing about Hancock is that when he hints at something it probably means it is already in the works. Trust me, an expanded playoff is in the works but the big deal for Group of 5 leagues like the Mountain West.
The committee will submit a more comprehensive plan this summer and it should be noted that Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson is on this working group and has wanted a larger playoff for obvious reasons.
The reason there are 63 options is not becuase the committee group went through and chose a different bracket for each but likely rathr to includ location of games, bowl games to be included, bye weeks, and other scheduling ideas.
The more teams the better in a post season would do a few things. For one, if there are automatic bids for winning your conference then in theory there could be better non-conference games. More Power 5 vs. Power 5 and perhaps good Group of 5 schools could get a shot against a Goliath. A loss wouldn’t really hurt either team’s playoff chances if an automatic bid is given by winning the conference.
My ideal playoff is 16 teams with 10 conference champions and six at-large teams. That would make it a true playoff and not an inviational. This would make late season games matter in these Group of 5 leagues with teams vying to make a conference title game and then be one win away from making the playoff.
Getting to the playoff would help with recruiting and possibly a player might consider one of the best teams from a Group of 5 team other the 10th best Big Ten team. Talent could be spread out and slowly make teams a bit more competitive.
The 16-team model has its downside with league champs because a No. 1 Clemson likely would steamroll a No. 16 Marshall, yet that is the reward for being a top seed.
Another positive would make the season more meaningful and longer in that regards as well. The ranking show on ESPN, or whatever, would still focus on the at-large bids and the major conferences but there would be more discussion about the Group of 5 and that would be great for every school involved to make the tent of college football fandom larger and not smaller.
The end result of the playoff still might be a Clemson vs. Alabaama but the ride to geth there would be fun seeing a Mountain West champion going on the road to face Ohio State, Oklahoma, or Florida with an upset in the making.
However, the way college football has moved at a snails pace, at best, likely. means that the next round of expansion will be to make sure all Power 5 leagues are included and likely via winning its conference, one singular spot for a Group of 5 and a pair of at-larges.
This is progress but so is having all of those 63 options and just maybe the playoff deciders will actually open up the playoff to more teams because that will bring in a lot of money which is sort of the goal of this whole thing and they just happen to crown a champion as well.