Why Expanding the CFP Will Be Awesome
Every year around February, college basketball pundits like Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm start putting out their lists of who’s in, who’s out, the bubble teams, last four in, last four out, next four out, etc. With the College Football Playoff currently with only four teams the only debates in the media involve who is number four, who is number five, and who can sneak in with a huge performance in one of the conference championships.
There is also a little bit of debate about seeding but not too much. All of this will change beginning next season. Beginning in December of 2024, the College Football Playoff will expand from four teams to 12. Six conference champions will receive automatic bids and six At-Large teams will receive bids. Yes, we can call them bids!!
The top four teams will receive a bye in the first round. The fifth seed will play the twelfth seed, six will play eleven, seven will play ten, and eight against nine. The higher-seeded teams in the first round will either host the games or will choose a site of their liking. Now the college football pundits will be talking about who is on the bubble, who is in, who is out, and what needs to happen for things to change.
Of course, there will be talk about who is number twelve and who is number thirteen. There will be endless discussion about whether the committee is getting it right up until the twelve teams are announced.
The Regular Season Will Matter
A lot of people are going to say that by expanding to twelve teams, the importance of the regular season will be diminished. Not true. Yes, there will be teams with two losses that make the playoff and possibly even teams with three losses, however, fans of all the teams in contention will be paying a lot of attention to what happens in the regular season and what it means.
The top teams are not going to want to go on the road, especially in the first round and the top teams will do everything they can to get a first-round bye. Teams that lose a couple of games will still be motivated to keep winning because they can make the playoff and not be relegated to a lesser bowl game. Every year, we hear about whether some teams are motivated to play even after they qualified for a New Year’s Six bowl because they aren’t going to the playoff.
Ever since the College Football Championship went from the BCS Championship to a four-team playoff, there haven’t been a lot of upsets. Ohio State beating Alabama and Oregon and TCU taking down Michigan last year come to mind. With the expanded playoff, there will undoubtedly be upsets which of course will increase excitement to another level.
It might be difficult for the twelfth seed to win the whole thing but if they take out the fifth seed and then the fourth seed, it will create chaos. If one of the lower-seeded teams makes a deep run we will see all the famous alumni break out their college hoodies.
Bowl Games Matter, Too
Ever since the New Year’s Six system was implemented, four of the six games have seen diminished importance. When a team in the lower end of the top 25 wins their championship game and has no chance at the playoff, interest declines further except for fans of those teams.
Now, winning a conference championship guarantees you a spot in the big dance. After the first round of the expanded playoff, four of the six New Year’s Six games will be playoff quarterfinals. One game on a Friday night then three games on a Saturday. A college football playoff triple header? Wow. The two other bowl games from the New Year’s Six will host the semifinals with the bowl games changing similar to the current setup. I, for one, can not wait.