CFP 16 Team Format

Three years into the College Football Playoff Era, I think that many will agree with me that the playoff needs to be expanded in some capacity.  While some believe that the CFP needs to be 6 or 8 teams, I believe that this tournament should expand to 16 teams, and here I will explain the system that should be used.

Format: 16-team playoff.  10 automatic bids for each conference champion, 6 at-large teams.


Round of 16:  Campus Sites, home game for the higher seed.

Quarterfinals: Played at four of the New Year’s Six Bowls (Sugar, Orange, Peach, Fiesta, Cotton)

Semifinals: Played at two of the New Year’s Six Bowls (Rose every year) (one of the other five every year)

Finals: Played at a site that determined through a bid process, same as it is now.

2016 Seeds (based on committee’s rankings and the FPI for unranked teams)

  1. Alabama: 13-0, SEC Champ
  2. Clemson: 12-1, ACC Champ
  3. Ohio State: 11-1, At-Large
  4. Washington: 12-1, Pac-12 Champ
  5. Penn State: 11-2, Big 10 Champ
  6. Michigan: 10-2, At-Large
  7. Oklahoma: 10-2, Big 12 Champ
  8. Wisconsin: 10-3, At-Large
  9. USC: 9-3, At-Large
  10. Colorado: 10-3, At-Large
  11. Florida State: 9-3, At-Large
  12. Western Michigan: 13-0, MAC Champ
  13. Western Kentucky: 10-3, C-USA Champ
  14. Temple: 10-3, AAC Champ
  15. San Diego State: 10-3, MWC Champ
  16. Appalachian State: 9-3, Sun Belt Champ

For the system: This gives everyone in the nation an opportunity to make the playoff, and hence gives everyone a chance to win the national title.  While a team from MAC or Sun Belt will struggle to win a game in the playoff, it gives them a seat at the table.  It will allow late-season games with small schools count even more.  It will give their fans more incentive to fill stadiums in more and more games.

One of the biggest plus’s of this system is that it will decrease coaching changes, and help small schools keep coaches after successful runs.  Western Kentucky and Temple have already lost their coaches and Western Michigan will eventually not have the money to pay PJ Fleck.  If their team’s had made the playoff instead of a meaningless bowl games, then the odds of them leaving their schools greatly decreases.  Jeff Brohm would have made consecutive playoff’s under this system and Western Kentucky would probably turn into the next Boise State.  Instead he’s going into a dumpster fire at Purdue, and the Hilltoppers will quickly fall off.  The same can be said for Temple, a program that is very desirable after back-back 10-win seasons, but now will probably fall off the radar.

Against the system:  Too many games for top teams to play.  At this age for these players, they do not need to be adding more games, due to concussion concerns and the wear and tear on the body.  Many of these players will be getting ready for the NFL, and adding more games increases their chance at injury and may cost them millions once they declare.

Adding 16 teams is way too many.  6 or 8 is acceptable, but 16 is way too much.  Team’s like Appalachian State should not be playing team’s like Alabama.  The SEC will always dominate and it is a waste of time playing those games.  It should be the top 16 teams in the nation, and we should waste our time with pointless matchups.  Those teams need to be ranked this high to make the playoff, like how Western Michigan would make it this year.

Final Verdict:  This system will work, for many reasons.  The top 8 seeds will get a home game in the first round.  That will produce millions of dollars for those athletic departments as a reward for being a top team from the regular season.  It will produce more hype and money for each of the bowl games, as each season the game will have unprecedented meaning every year.  TV ratings will be up, tickets will sell-out, merchandise will be bought at a high level, and the cities hosting the games will have more fans visiting than ever before.

I understand the issues with playing too many at that age, especially with concussions and injuries.  Now when we have the top teams who play in the title game with a 15-game season if have a conference title game.  This system would see players with a potential of playing 17 games, which is a lot on the body.  One solution would be to eliminate conference title games, which is unlikely due to the money the conference’s make.  Another way to look at this is that when players reach the NFL, they will play a 16-game regular season, with 4 pre-season games and the potential of playoffs, which can amount to over 20 football games.  That can be a huge wake-up call for players, who may not be prepared for that many games.  Adding these playoff games may help players prepare for a potential NFL career.

16 teams is the perfect amount of teams.  10 automatic bids allows every team in the nation to have a chance to win their conference and make the playoff.  6 at-large teams is perfect, as after Florida State (the last at-large team), it is hard to make a case for many of the teams.  Oklahoma State would be next and besides wins over Pittsburgh and West Virginia, they are not very impressive.  Louisville might have a case, but they have struggled in the second half of the season.  Next is a 4-loss Auburn team.  Stopping it at 6 at-large team’s is more than enough.  Once you get past this, it may be tough to find deserving teams.

What everyone loves about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, is the upsets.  The idea that any team can win on any given day.  These games will be the biggest games in school history for teams like Western Michigan and Appalachian State.  If you think that these teams won’t have a team your crazy.  Remember when Troy nearly upset Clemson on the road, and then Troy was a game away from making this system?  San Diego’s Donnel Pumphrey would give Clemson fits.  Western Kentucky has not scored less than 44 points since September and would face Washington.  Temple is on fire and would face Ohio State.  Western Michigan would face Penn State, and I don’t think anyone can saw they wouldn’t want to see that matchup in front of 108,000.

The other thing this system would do is get rid of these idiotic weekly rankings for the committee.  They would meet once when the season is over, much like the men’s basketball committee.  I find it hard to believe the rankings would be the same if they had not meet the week before and already ranked teams.  Let’s make this system happen, no New Year’s Eve games, no more debate, and even more football.