June 15, 2021

Why 12-Team College Football Playoff is a No-Brainer

The college football season is right around the corner. But before we kick off another campaign, some exciting news has leaked about a possible expansion of the four-team College Football Playoff.

According to ESPN, the CFP could expand to 12 teams by the 2023 campaign. 

Everyone loves bowl games because of the unique matchups. And now we get a 12-team playoff that'll allow us to see the nation's best teams get a fair shot at earning their way into the championship game. In the proposal, the dozen-team bracket would include the six highest-ranked conference champions and then the next six highest-rated teams which will be ranked by the College Football Playoff selection committee. 

While the decision to expand by eight teams was controversial to some, it was an obvious move by all parties involved. More competitive games equal higher revenue across the board. Even the players will benefit in this regard as the NCAA eventually gets their act together when it comes to compensating the athletes beyond a scholarship.

The superfluous number of bowl games that have developed over the playoff era have been an issue. Few people care about the minor games at the start of bowl season. The games create little revenue for the schools and the risk of injury isn't worth the exposure. 

Instead, they'll swap out four early bowls for four late playoff games. This is a significant boost for the NFL evaluators watching closely and the college football landscape. Everyone wins.

We can look back to recent years to find fantastic matchups we missed out on thanks to the four-team setup.

In 2017, we would've seen Alabama play UCF, Auburn play Miami, and Wisconsin play Washington. Second-round matchups may have featured Clemson and USC, Ohio State and Alabama, and Oklahoma and Auburn. The interest would've lasted a month.

The same story repeats itself in subsequent years. Maybe UCF could've actually earned a national title in 2018. Or Baylor, Utah, or Memphis could've fought for the crown in 2019.

Critics will say these lesser teams had no chance to win despite seeing underdogs continue to put up a strong fight in the postseason. At worst, it's a bad game. But lesser programs need to get more exposure in order to compete with the core four eventually. 

The inclusion of several Group of Five teams is a critical piece of the potential updated playoff. The at-large bids will break barriers and ceilings that led to gatekeeping in previous iterations of the playoff. 

The new generation of the playoff will frazzle traditionalists afraid of the powerhouses falling. However, the entertainment and benefits to both smaller programs and large programs are clear. And the college football nation as a whole understood this drastic change was worth skipping an eight-team or 10-team playoff.

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