Should the College Football Playoff be expanded to eight teams?


In 2014, the first four-team playoff was introduced into college football. Voted into the playoff was Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, and Florida State; Ohio State defeated Oregon 42-20 and was crowned as the National Champion. Since the 2014-2015 season, both Alabama and Clemson have been in the playoff five out of the last six years. This has raised the question; does the College Football Playoff create too many powerhouse teams? In my opinion, the College Football Playoff needs to be expanded to an eight-team playoff instead of a four-team to maximize the revenue, gain viewers, and make the playoff more exciting and unpredictable for fans to watch. 

Every season, Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State are almost a given to be selected into the playoff. Essentially, this leaves one spot for a team that has had a great season and deserves a shot at the national title. Teams like Oklahoma and Georgia have sniffed success in the playoff but have never established a firm footing in the race to the championship. On the flip side, teams like Baylor and Penn State have been right on the verge of being selected, but in the end, the committee cannot admit one of these teams over a powerhouse of Alabama or Ohio State.

It is virtually impossible for a team that is not in a Power Five conference to be selected into the playoff. In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the University of Central Florida did not lose a single game, yet the Knights were beaten out of a bid by four teams, each of which had one loss. In 2016, Western Michigan was in a similar situation after having an impressive undefeated season, and at the end of the year, the Broncos were ranked 15th in the country. There has never been a group of five school named in the College Football Playoff. This year, Coastal Carolina has rattled off 11 wins with two over ranked opponents, including the highly-anticipated matchup with BYU. With the Chanticleers coming out on top, they have likely claimed the “title” of the group of five, as long they take down the 17th ranked Lousinia Ragin’ Cajuns in the Sun Belt Championship. If the playoff was enlarged to eight teams, it would open up opportunities for schools like Coastal Carolina that previously did not have a chance at competing for a National Championship. Obviously, the dominant football schools like Alabama and Clemson would still be likely to make it to the playoffs, but now there is a larger incentive for smaller schools to fight for a spot as well. 

Some people may think that if the playoff was expanded, the quality of football would decrease. The biggest argument against an eight-team playoff is that schools who are not in a Power Five conference would be obliterated by an Alabama or Clemson, and that very well may be true. However, wouldn’t it be much more interesting if a school like UCF was able to beat one of the top seeds? Increasing the number of teams in the playoffs may result in a couple of blowouts once in a while, but I believe that it would be much more interesting and entertaining for the viewer to see a new variety of schools competing in the playoff every year, rather than the same three of four teams we always see. Not only would it be more fun to watch as a fan, but it would also increase the number of viewers and revenue brought in by the event exponentially.

With eight teams, all in a race for the National Championship, more fans would tune in to watch their favorite team play. More apparel and tickets would be bought, and more money would be placed on bets. All in all, college football would bring in much more money if the playoff was increased to eight teams. All other sports host a bigger event to crown a champion. The NFL has a 14-team playoff, and NCAA basketball has March Madness with 68 teams. The bracket-style tournament has been undoubtedly successful in multiple other sports. Each of these tournaments results in many exhilarating and invigorating contests because of the variety of schools in the competition, from the lesser-known teams to the favorites.

Fans are tired of seeing the same teams in the playoff every year. An eight-team playoff would be a great opportunity for college football in years to come.

How big should the College Football Playoff be?


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Check out Mac’s story on why the CFP should expand to 16 teams, and Adam’s on why it should stay as is!

Why the College Football Playoff committee should change to a 16-team format

Why the current College Football Playoff system needs to stay