The College Football Playoff management committee presented a proposal on June 10 to expand the current four-team playoff format to one that would include 12 teams, and many people think it will pass.
I think this is absolutely the right move, and most other college football fans would agree with me. A four-team playoff was a good start simply because any version of a playoff format is better than what was happening before. It was basically whoever won the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship vs. whatever team was voted the best outside of the SEC.
For 13 out of the last 14 years, an SEC team has played in the national championship game.
While that stat is a testament to how consistently talented the SEC is, it shows how easy it is for a team to advance to the championship game if they belong to the SEC.
Coastal Carolina moved to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 2017. This move made them eligible to play in bowl games and compete in the college football playoffs.
If the 12-team format had been implemented already, No. 12 Coastal Carolina could’ve faced No. 5 Notre Dame in the first round of the 2020 college football playoffs. Maybe they would have made it all the way to the championship game and faced either Alabama or Clemson.
Possibilities like these are going to greatly enhance the college football experience for fans and players. Just imagine a team like Coastal Carolina getting the chance to upset Alabama and actually pulling it off. That would set the sports world on fire.
Including four teams was a good appetizer for what the college football playoffs could be, but I think it is time to go ahead and pull the trigger so that more teams have the chance to represent their school and conference on college football’s biggest stage.
Some other teams that would’ve qualified for the college football playoffs in 2020 with a 12-team format were Indiana, Cincinnati and Iowa State. I don’t remember the last time any of those schools were anywhere near a chance at playing for the national championship.
This is what an expanded college football playoff system can do for college football. It can give every year an endless amount of possibilities regarding who will walk away with the CFP National Championship Trophy.
I believe expanding the playoff will be good for recruiting as well.
Think about it. Every year, teams like Alabama or Georgia of the SEC, or Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), end up with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class because these teams belong to conferences that see their teams compete for the championship trophy year in and year out.
I should mention that my team, Oregon, has a recruiting class ranked in the top ten usually, but that is probably due to their flashy uniforms rather than their championship game appearances.
The point is that, if the college football playoffs are expanded, more teams will have a better chance at competing for championships, and recruits will stop committing to SEC or ACC schools solely because of the conferences’ number of previous championship teams.
We could see the playing field begin to level around the country. Teams like Coastal Carolina could retain some of their state’s five-star prospects since they don’t have to rush off to Alabama to win championships anymore.
I guess, by my logic, the move to expand the playoffs could spell doom for Alabama head coach Nick Saban, but I am pretty sure guys like him welcome the challenge.
Even though this issue only affects college football teams, it is still a move for equality in the purest sense of the word. This move will open the door for a lot of teams and allow them to unleash their potential. I can’t wait to see what happens.
May the best team win.
Written by Zach Edmondson, sports editor. Graphic courtesy of Gracie Lucas, former digital content editor.