The Case for an Eight Team College Football Playoff

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Special for USADC.

My proposal for an eight team playoff would have the following stipulations:

1) Each of the conference winners in the power five conference would be granted an automatic bid in the playoff.

2) At least one member of a group of five conference must be given an automatic bid which can be determined by the playoff committee.

3) The remaining two bids would be at-large bids which can be given to any team, including Notre Dame. These two bids would also be determined by the playoff committee.

4) The playoff committee will decide seeding from one to eight. The top four seeds would host the first round game at their site and then the normal format of neutral venues in the current playoff system would apply from the semifinal round onward.

5) The lowest seed remaining would face the highest seed remaining in one game in the semifinal round with the other two seeds facing off in the other round.

There are three good reasons why I believe this system works.

Related: Should College Football Playoff Expand to Eight Teams?

Reason #1: Every Power Conference Would Get A Chance to Compete For The Championship

Last year, Baylor was left out of the playoff picture although it did well in the regular season. Since there were only four spots available in the playoff, one power five conference was bound to get left out and it was the Big 12 in this case. Under the current system, at least one power conference will be left out of the picture and the member of that conference will argue and complain that they deserve that final spot.

Under my proposed system, at least one member of every power five conference will participate in the playoff which will make the playoff field more rounded. There will always be a team that believes it deserves the final spot in any playoff, but the complaint would be a lot less problematic since it does not involve a conference winner.

Reason #2: Runner-Ups In A Power Conference Will Get A Chance At Redemption

It happens every year. In a given conference, there will be two teams that are really good but only one conference winner. In the current format, the conference runner-up has little chance of making the playoff unless their ranking is near the top. There is very little margin for error in college football, but there are often situations where there two good teams in a conference but only one can win the conference. Often times, the runner-up is every bit just as good as the conference winner, but never gets the chance to compete for the championship.

Under my proposed format, the two at-large bids can go to these runner-ups if they are good enough based on the committee’s opinion. My format accounts for the possibility of two very good teams in one conference and their ability to compete on a high level.

Reason #3: Cinderella’s Going To The Dance Because A Group Of Five Member Is Going To the Playoff

There’s no better story in sports than an underdog or small time program making it to the big dance and possibly winning the championship. Under the current format, this is nearly impossible because the group of five members usually do not play a hard enough schedule to end up in the top four at the end of the season.

My format mandates that at least one member of the group of five go to the big dance. The game of college football as well as TV ratings will benefit highly when a small time team has a chance to compete for the championship. Teams such as Boise State and TCU have proven in the past they can win games against big time programs. Thus, it makes sense to give at least one member of the group of five a chance to compete and possibly win the championship.

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