College Football Playoff Expanding To 12: It Will All Be Fine. Really.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff Expanding To 12: It Will All Be Fine. Really.

College Football Features

College Football Playoff Expanding To 12: It Will All Be Fine. Really.

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The College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams in the near future. It’s going to be a positive thing for college football. Really.


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Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …

By around 2024 it’s going to be the 13th-best take in a 12-take world.

College football is giving us more meaningful football, and some don’t want it

Really, was that so hard?

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers have approved a 12-team expanded College Football Playoff that could start as early as 2024, but will most likely kick in around 2026 – contract issues, logistics, and a slew of other parts of the puzzle have to be put together to make this happen earlier than later.

When this is a go, the CFP will be made up of the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams. The first round will be played on the college campuses, and then it gets turned over to the bowl locations.

Yes, it’s for the money – as are all major sports – and yes, it’s about catering to the expanded monster conferences. The college presidents and athletic directors finally figured out there’s a nice, warm treasure bath waiting with lots of bubbles.

Of course, like everything, there will be those who shake their fists and get all weird because something fun might change and be more fun, but outside of “because,” they don’t have any real argument.

Expansion is a good thing. Really.

Start with this – there’s going to be a way for teams to play their way into the College Football Playoff.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you win all your games in the Power Five and you’re in, but that’s not a given, and that’s not the right way to look at it.

There will be debates in the future about who that 12th team should be, but that’s fine. We won’t have to get into it about the fifth, sixth, and seventh best teams – at least the theoretical ones determined on a belief.

2020 Texas A&M had to play Alabama. Notre Dame didn’t, but it beat Clemson once before getting throttled in the ACC Championship rematch. Both the Aggies and Irish deserved to be in the CFP, but one had to be left out. That was a silly debate that should’ve been unnecessary.

Cincinnati and Oklahoma State and Utah all should’ve had a shot in some sort of a playoff system after the 2021 season. TCU should’ve been in the playoff after the 2014 campaign – and Baylor should have, too – but not everyone could squeeze into the four team format.

Was it fair that some teams – 2021 Georgia, 2017 Alabama, 2016 Ohio State – got to the College Football Playoff without being good enough to win their respective conference championships? Not really, but that won’t matter with an expanded CFP – they can get in, but that doesn’t mean teams that earned it will be left out. That leads to the best part about all of this.

The importance of the panel of judges is lessened.

This is the part I truly don’t understand from the anti-expansion types. Why do you want any aspect of the championship determined by an opinion?

The College Football Playoff committee is fine, but these are important people with lives, and things to do, and families that love them. They know the sport, but they don’t know the entire landscape of college football from the rooter to the tooter.

Expand the playoff, win your conference championship with a good record in a great league, and you’re good. There – take it out of the hands of the judges. You control your own fate.

That’s going to make the season more fun.

Think about it. How much more awesome would the Baylor goal line stop against Oklahoma State have been in the Big 12 Championship if that was for a playoff spot?

How much more fun would the Pac-12 Championship have been if the Utah fan base got to have an even bigger party?

And what about the ACC Championship? It’s possible someone outside of friends and family would’ve watched Pitt vs Wake Forest last year.

More fan bases will be involved, more teams will have something big to shoot for, and there’s going to be more interest in college football overall.

Does that mean a Boise State or a No. 3 Big Ten team will take down Alabama in the playoff? Probably not, but that’s not the point.

Did UCF really think it could’ve or would’ve won the national title in 2017 or 2018? I don’t know, and neither did those Knight teams that just wanted a shot.

It sucks more for a team to not get a chance because the judges went in a different direction than it does to get trucked by the Tide. All everyone wants is the opportunity, and now it’s coming.

No, College Football Playoff expansion deniers, this won’t lessen the importance of the regular season. It’s going to be much, much harder than it seems to get into the CFP – this isn’t the NCAA Tournament or the NHL or NBA playoffs.

No, this won’t make for a worse playoff. You can’t get hot from three for a weekend and end up close to the Final Four.

Ask yourself this – where has there been any sort of a flukish loss in the CFP so far? Of course there will be some sort of a crazy upset somewhere when this expands, but if you can win two or more games in this tournament, you’re for real.

In the near future, every team will know in the offseason that the College Football Playoff is a real possibility, and not just a silly slogan put on a t-shirt.

Every fan base whose team is having a good season will be more engaged.

December will be more fun, the College Football Playoff will be more fun, and the sport will be more fun.

The College Football Playoff is expanding. It’s going to be okay.

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