It’s Time To Expand the College Playoffs

Editor’s note: Now that we are in the midst of the bowl games, see below how we would have seeded this hypothetical NCAA football tourney

We cheered when college football went from a two team arbitrary championship game to a four team playoff system.

However, with four teams and five power conferences, a team the deserves a chance to compete will get shut out.

So instead of bitching about the system, I am proposing a (better) solution.

Let’s expand the field to twelve teams.

So who gets in?

The winners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big-12, SEC, and Pac-10 have an automatic berth, regardless of record. If a team with four losses beats an undefeated team, too bad. Just like the men’s basketball tournament. Win and you’re in.

The highest ranked four would get a first round bye.

The next five spots would go to the winners of the American Athletic, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, Mountain West, and the Sun Belt.

The final two slots can go to the highest ranked teams that didn’t win their conference. Say for example, LSU loses at Alabama, and it’s their only loss of the season. If the Crimson Tide go on to the SEC Championship game, the Tigers would likely be a top ten team. Since they are in the same division, they cannot represent the SEC West in that game. A 10-1 LSU team deserves a shot as a 11 or 12 seed in the playoff. (see below how it works for 2021).

What about Notre Dame or other independents? Glad you asked. The Fighting Irish play every other sport in the ACC. So time to get with it, and join the conference for football. Certainly NBC can work something out for the lucrative home games. Notre Dame already has five ACC teams on their schedule. They might have to drop the Toledo or Navy game, but they can keep the USC rivalry alive. For that matter all games against the Louisiana Techs and Georgia States by the football behemoths should be banned. I know those schools are willing to get beat 70-7 for a nice payday. Perhaps there’s a way to give them a game in one of those 100,000 seat stadiums. Perhaps a Friday nite / Saturday doubleheader, so to speak, paired with a big non-conference matchup, like Alabama – Oregon. Now that teams are vying for the all important conference title and seeding, strength of schedule should mean everything.

Now that the 2021 season is over, here is how we would set up a real college football playoff.

Automatic byes: Alabama, Michigan, Cincinnati, Baylor.

sorry Georgia, you were an undefeated team and lost in your conference playoff. The good news the Bulldogs will get an at-large bid. Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma State, better luck next year. Win your division. Win your conference, and make the playoffs. Simple as that.

Utah (Pac-12) vs Northern Illinois (Mid-American)
Pittsburgh (ACC) vs Louisiana (Sun Belt)
Georgia (at large) vs Utah State (Mountain West)
Notre Dame (at-large) vs Texas- San Antonio (Conference USA)

Good luck to all these teams in the faux college playoffs.