College Football Playoff Expansion Scenarios: 5, 6, 8, 12 & 16-Team What If Formats

College Football Playoff Expansion Scenarios: 5, 6, 8, 12 & 16-Team What If Formats

Week 14

College Football Playoff Expansion Scenarios: 5, 6, 8, 12 & 16-Team What If Formats


What if the playoff expanded? What if there were different things to argue over right now? What would the 5, 6, 8, 12 and 16-team formats be? 


College Football Playoff Expansion Scenarios

Know Your Bowls: Quick Breakdowns of Every Team

The four-team College Football Playoff format – screaming and all – just isn’t that bad – better to leave a decent option out than put in extra, undeserving teams.

But what if the public got what it wanted – more College Football Playoff?

What if the system and the “I think (this team) is better” judging was minimized, or taken out entirely?

What if the College Football Playoff expanded? To keep this real, and in the land of the possible, here are the scenarios that are and will be on the table for the near future.

4-Team Format & Scenario: Just Conference Champions

What if the idea was for the College Football Playoff committee to determine who the four-best conference champs were, and now just the four-best teams, leaving the matter to the play on the field?

The CFP left itself an out with the murky idea that the committee can pick who it thinks is best, but it blew off the Big Ten champion two years in a row despite conference championships being the main criteria. They wanted to protect against the possibility of a 12-0 juggernaut losing to a 9-3 meatball on the wrong day in a conference title game. So this year, the Four-Team Just Champion option obviously would’ve been …

SUGAR: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Ohio State
ROSE: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia

5-Team Format & Scenario

This is likely the most realistic option to come next, because it’s easy, it’s the least invasive, and it solves a slew of problems.

This year, Clemson being the No. 1 seed is absolutely meaningless. Yippee! Clemson is No. 1 going to the Sugar Bowl! … And Alabama is going to the game it would’ve been as a No. 1 seed, too, not the No. 1.

There should be some sort of a massive break for the team thats earned the top spots, and here it is.

1, 2 and 3 are in. 2 and 3 know which bowl they’re going to and can prepare. 1 gets a team that had to play another game.

The 4 and 5 teams in the final CFP Rankings would play one game two weeks after Championship Saturday – this year, on December 16th – at the home site of the No. 4 team. That gives both teams two weeks to prepare, and the winner two weeks to rest up for the four-team playoff.

December 16: Ohio State plays at Alabama
SUGAR: No. 1 Clemson vs. Play-In Winner
ROSE: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia

It wouldn’t happen, but if this was just about the top conference champions …

December 16: USC plays at Ohio State
SUGAR: No. 1 Clemson vs. Play-In Winner
ROSE: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia

6-Team Format & Scenario

This isn’t quite as likely as you might think – the 5-team playoff is the likely better compromise between all the parties involved – but it would be the same sort of set-up. Two weeks after Championship Saturday, No. 6 travels to No. 3, and No. 5 travels to No. 4. The winners then go to the four-team College Football Playoff as currently constructed.

December 16: Wisconsin plays at Georgia, Ohio State plays at Alabama
SUGAR: No. 1 Clemson vs. lowest-seeded remaining team
ROSE: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. highest-seeded remaining team

8-Team Format & Scenario

Again, like the six-team format, there’s a problem here with too much screaming and yelling from the coaches and schools about too many games being too much for too many players, and now the logistics start to get a little out of whack.

However, if the CFP went to this, it would make for one amazing Saturday of games two weeks from now, all played on December 16 on the home field of the higher seed.

No. 8 USC at No. 1 Clemson
No. 7 Auburn at No. 2 Oklahoma
No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 3 Georgia
No. 5 Ohio State at No. 4 Alabama

However, the only way this would realistically get through would be if there was some sort of agreement from the conference commissioners that all five Power Five champions were already in, along with the top-ranked Group of Five champion. So, in this scenario, the argument would’ve been for that No. 6 spot, and Auburn would’ve been left out …

No. 12 UCF at No. 1 Clemson
No. 8 USC at No. 2 Oklahoma
No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 3 Georgia
No. 5 Ohio State at No. 4 Alabama

12-Team Format & Scenario

Look, it’s just not going to get any bigger than eight, if at all. The logistics are too much of a problem, but okay – the top four teams get a bye, the bottom eight play on December 9 on the home field of the higher seed, Round 2 is on December 16 on the home field of the higher seed, and then we dive into the normal four-team College Football Playoff.

In this, there’s no way this is even a possibility unless all four Power Five conference champs are automatically in, along with a Group of Five champion.

No. 12 UCF at No. 5 Ohio State
No. 11 Washington at No. 6 Wisconsin
No. 10 Miami at No. 7 Auburn
No. 9 Penn State at No. 8 USC

Lowest-ranked remaining team at No. 1 Clemson
Next-lowest ranked remaining team at No. 2 Oklahoma
Next lowest ranked remaining team at No. 3 Georgia
Highest-ranked remaining team at No. 4 Alabama

16-Team Format & Scenario

Oh screw it. Just let everyone in. First Round on December 8th and 9th on the higher-seed home field, Second Round on December 16 on the higher-seed home field, College Football Playoff final four as currently set up. All five Power Five conference champions are automatically in, top-ranked Group of Five champion automatically in.

No. 16 Michigan State at No. 1 Clemson
No. 15 TCU at No. 2 Oklahoma
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 3 Georgia
No. 13 Stanford at No. 4 Alabama
No. 12 UCF at No. 5 Ohio State
No. 11 Washington at No. 6 Wisconsin
No. 10 Miami at No. 7 Auburn
No. 9 Penn State at No. 8 USC

The process then gets reseeded – highest-ranked remaining team gets home field over the lowest-ranked remaining team, and so on.

Or, we keep it four and the regular season of college football is still amazing and awesome without diluting the process.


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