clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Expanding the College Football Playoff

Updated 2017 edition from our 2015 article

CFP National Championship Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The College Playoff still has problems and seemingly going toward an expanded playoff in the near future. The current system has many flaws. The most glaring is that it’s made winning your conference a non-factor. We saw this last year when Penn State had won their division and the conference and the committee chose Ohio State (who had lost to Penn State, didn’t win their division, didn’t win the conference and didn’t even play in the conference title game) over Penn State to be in the College Football Playoff.

One could speculate that Ohio State being in the playoff has more appeal than Penn State and therefore higher ratings and more money. And as we know, anytime money is a driving factor, corruption seems to abound. There was no logical reason for Penn State to be left out of the playoff, especially when Clemson destroyed Ohio State 31-0.

So we had a system before the BCS that was too subjective. People wanted objectivity as to who was the best team. Enter the BCS. Then that system didn’t account for how a team was playing at the end of the year compared to earlier in the season (thanks Oklahoma) and wasn’t subjective enough. So enter a committee who chooses who they want regardless of achievements on the field.

So why am I updating this piece from two years ago? Because some news broke of former head coach Mike Leach (yes he just won’t stay out of the news or twitter recently) and his approach to expanding the playoff.

64 is ridiculous. Sorry Coach Leach. We have an incredibly important regular season and that’s basically your playoff right there. 16? Still too much.

So here is my idea. It’s the same from 2015, just updated the teams.

1. Expand to 8 teams

2. Conference championships should mean something.

3. Next 3 highest ranked.

4. First games are each played at traditional BCS bowls. Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.

5. Semi-Final games to be played in Cotton Bowl, and another bowl TBD.

6. NC played in different NFL stadiums rotated one year behind Super Bowl venue.

If the season ended today... here's how it would play out:

**Criteria and conference rankings are as of today by record... even with games to be played and champoionship games pending. purely hypothetical**

Current AP Rankings as of 10/9/2017


1 Alabama (43) 6-0

2 Clemson (18) 6-0

3 Penn State 6-0

4 Georgia 6-0

5 Washington 6-0

6 TCU 5-0

7 Wisconsin 5-0

8 Washington St 6-0

9 Ohio St 5-1

10 Auburn 5-1

11 Miami 4-0

12 Oklahoma 4-1

13 USC 5-1

14 Oklahoma St 4-1

15 Virginia Tech 5-1

16 Notre Dame 5-1

17 Michigan 4-1

18 South Florida 5-0

19 San Diego State 6-0

20 NC State 5-1

21 Michigan State 4-1

22 UCF 4-0

23 Stanford 4-2

24 Texas Tech 4-1

25 Navy 5-0

Champions: (as of today)

SEC - Alabama

Big 10 - Penn State

Big 12 - TCU

PAC 12 - Washington

ACC - Clemson

Next Three:



Washington St

Seeds: (Based on AP Rank of Conference champs then Next Three)

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Penn State

4. Washington

5. TCU

6. Georgia

7. Wisconsin

8. Washington State


8 Washington State vs 1 Alabama at Orange Bowl

7 Wisconsin vs 2 Clemson at Sugar Bowl

6 Georgia vs 3 Penn State at Fiesta Bowl

5 TCU vs 4 Washington at Rose Bowl

Semi-Final would be reseeded accordingly.

Again purely hypothetical, but the best answer to the problem in my opinion. It would make winning your conference ever more important and would make the “committee” responsible for just the At-Large teams. Take a look at my 2015 example.

Let us know if you think this system work and make the majority of people happy. Because let’s be honest... no system will be perfect or make everyone happy. But can we at least agree that making the playoff 64 teams would make it less special?

Note: It’ll be interesting to compare the responses from 2015 to now to see how public opinion has changed or not over the last two years.