Reports surfaced on Thursday that a griup working with the College Football Playoff committee will recommend expanding the playoffs when they hold meetings in Chicago next week. We’ve known this day would come for some time now, and we’ve even thrown out our own proposals here on The Take. So, let’s break down the reported proposal.
Big question first: how many teams?
Reports are saying the proposal is for 12 teams. These teams will consist of the six highest ranked conference champions, as well as 6 at-large teams.
12 teams? How the hell does that work?
The four highest ranked conference champs will get first round byes, with seeds 5-12 playing first round games on campus at the higher seed. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played in bowl games, with the championship game to remain in neutral sites. There will be no reseeding
Is 12 a good number?
Twelve teams is way too fucking many. There has never been a season in the history of college football where 12 whole ass teams deserve a shot at the natty. The only way I’d ever want that many teams in a playoff is if every conference champ got an auto-bid, and the days when that was feasible are long gone. As I’ve said before, I believe the best way to “fix” college football is to realign the divisions, trimming some fat and slimming down D1.
But this is good for the non-power conference teams, right?
Absolutely! The idea that the top six ranked conference champs get auto-bids means that at least one team from the Mountain West, AAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt or MAC will be in the playoffs every season. That’s great news, and it addresses the biggest complaint about the current format.
Is there bad news for anyone?
Remember when I said the top six ranked conference champs would get auto-bids, and the top four conference champs would get byes? Well, that means no auto-bids or byes for independents Notre Dame or BYU (and technically Army, Liberty, New Mexico State and UMass as well).
You hate to see it (we do not, in fact, hate to see Notre Dame shafted at anytime. Fuck them.), but maybe try joining a conference you pompus fucks.
What’s your favorite part of the proposal?
The first round games being played on campus. Those atmospheres will be ELECTRIC. Shame we won’t ever see a game in Tuscaloosa, though, because you might as well lock the Tide in for a bye through…*checks notes on Nick Saban’s new extension*… at least 2028.
I’m also a big fan of the six auto-bids for the highest ranked conference champions. College football loves to tout its regular season as the most important in all of sports (which is blatantly false when you take into account that most major soccer leagues don’t even have playoffs), yet seems to damage it every chance they get. This actually places more importance back into the regular season.
Is this good or bad for the bowls?
Both, really. As it stands, the “big” bowls are the New Year’s Six bowls: the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Rose, Cotton, and Peach. With this proposal, there would be two more bowls getting a playoff game. So that’s good news for at least two bowl games — maybe more should the committee decide to rotate like they do with the current format.
But, more playoff games/teams means more of the “playoff or bust” mentality that have overtaken college football since the CFP’s inception in 2014. But remember, whenever some ESPN talking head bitches about this in the fall, they work for the same network that pushed for the committee to release weekly rankings on a show on… ESPN.
Either way, the bowls and their “tradition” have been dying/dead for a long time now. They were never anything more than glorified exhibitions. Now, I’m not complaining about bowl season, more football is always a good thing; and anyone who calls themself a college football fan but says they wouldn’t watch a December 19th bowl game between San Jose State and North Texas is a goddamned liar. The bowls were just a terrible way to determine a national champ.
The bowls will remain the bowls. No one makes any money except the bowl game itself, and athletic departments actually lose money by participating in bowl games. Yet, it’s a (mostly) great experience for the players and fans.
What tweeks would you make to the proposal?
Again, 12 teams is way too high a number. I’d like to see eight, with the top six ranked conference champs getting auto-bids and two at-large bids.
But, if I have to stay within the proposed 12-team format, then I’d say make the first round AND the quarterfinals on campus. One of the most appealing aspects of the sport is the passion and pageantry on display every fall Saturday, so why not capitalize on that and put more than just four playoff games on campus?
One, this proposal isn’t final until the CFP votes it into existence. They could meet, decide to modify the proposal or turn it down altogether. We’ll know the CFP’s board of managers’ decision after they meet beginning on June 22nd.
Two, whatever changes are made won’t take effect until the current contract expires after the 2025-26 season.
Overall, this would be a good change to the CFP. It gives a clear chance to the smaller programs, albeit a slim one — it’ll be interesting to see how many non-P5 programs receive at-large bids over the first five or so seasons of the expanded format, should it indeed be 12 teams.
It also should give us at least one season without all of the talk surrounding the playoff being about how we should change the playoff, so there’s that. It’ll also bring in a boatload more money to the people who already make a boatload of money, so they’ll be happy.
In the end, it should eliminate any “well this team didn’t get in, so we’ll never really know if team X is the true champ” kind of argument. If you can’t get in a 12-team field, you were a pretender all along — yes, you may bring this up when the committee inevitably shafts a 11-1 G5 team in favor of 8-4 Michigan or whatever.