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

Bowls & CFP

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? 


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 three years in a row now 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 …

ORANGE: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Ohio State
COTTON: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Oklahoma

5-Team Format & Scenario

What if there’s some massive break and incentive to be a top three team?

Being the No. 1 now doesn’t mean too much considering all four teams are strong – a No. 1 has yet to win the College Football Playoff – and being second or third really doesn’t matter all that much.

So try this for a little tweak …

1, 2 and 3 are in. 2 and 3 know which bowl they’re going to and can prepare – this year, Clemson and Notre Dame are off to the Cotton. Meanwhile, 1 gets the big reward of playing 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 15th – 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 15: Georgia plays at Oklahoma
ORANGE: No. 1 Alabama vs. Play-In Winner
SUGAR: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

It wouldn’t happen, but if this was just about the top conference champions, now you’re bringing the Group of Five into this to give it more of a shot …

December 15: UCF plays at Ohio State
ORANGE: No. 1 Alabama vs. Play-In Winner
SUGAR: No. 2 Clemson vs. what would be No. 3 Oklahoma

6-Team Format & Scenario

This isn’t quite as likely as you might think – the 5-team playoff is the 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 15: Ohio State pays at Notre Dame, Georgia plays at Oklahoma
ORANGE: No. 1 Alabama vs. lowest-seeded remaining team
SUGAR: No. 2 Clemson vs. highest-seeded remaining team

NEXT: 8, 12 & 16-Team Format & Scenario

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