Expanded college football playoff is long overdue


Sam Himrod

Coming in 2024, the College Football Playoff will expand from its original 4 team format to a 12 team format. Fans have been wanting this for a while now, and finally their wants have been answered.

I think it’s a great decision by the committee. It gives college football its own sort of feeling of March Madness.

The 12 teams will consist of the six highest-ranked conference champions, and then the next six highest ranked teams. The top four conference champions will receive a first round bye in the playoffs. I love the format because it puts a larger emphasis on conference championships, which clearly doesn’t matter to the committee currently.

TCU lost its conference championship game to Kansas State, and yet its ranking remained at 3 despite the loss. The ACC, BIG 12, and PAC 12 champions were all left out of the top four. I’m not saying that those three teams (Clemson, Kansas State, and Utah) deserved a spot, but I like how in the near future those three teams will be rewarded for winning their conference and will earn a spot in the playoffs.

Take Tulane, for example. The Green Wave was ranked number nine in the country and had a great year in the American Conference. They came in as underdogs against the high-powered USC team led by Heisman Trophy Winner Caleb Williams. I don’t think very many people expected Tulane to win, and yet they did.

Now, did Tulane deserve a playoff spot? Under the current format, absolutely not. However, if this happened in 2024, being the AAC champions, it would have earned a spot in the playoff and may have made some noise. Tulane probably would have been handled easily in the next round by a top four team, but that happens all the time in March Madness. It’s why you play the game. The fans love a good Cinderella story, and this format allows for that Cinderella to emerge.

Some people may disagree and argue that there will be blowouts. Look at this year’s championship. The game that theoretically should be between the two best teams in the country was 65-7. A 58-point difference in the biggest game of the year.

Another reason I love the 12-team format is that it limits opt-outs. All the time, projected NFL first round picks sit out of their team’s bowl game because they don’t want to risk injury. There is no benefit to playing in a meaningless bowl game for them. I understand their decision, but from a fan’s perspective, you obviously want to see the best players play.

If playoffs expand, it allows for more teams to be in a competitive game that will motivate the best players in the country to play. No one opts out from the top four teams, so I doubt anyone will opt out from the top twelve.

Players are motivated by winning and exposure. When you allow for more teams to have a shot at the National Championship, you’re going to get the best out of the players and get good, hard fought games that people will be watching across the country.

The NCAA should be salivating at the thought of a 12-team playoff. Eleven games that really matter compared to three games now. The math seems pretty simple to me. I’m really looking forward to the expanded playoff format coming in 2024.