College Football Playoff: 8 Is Enough

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There’s been a lot of talk of expanding the college playoff field to 12 teams this past season. I don’t like this number. It’s too many.

Don’t get me wrong. Just like 12 is too much, the current 4 is too little. 8 is the Goldilocks number – it’s just right.

I first wrote about the merits of an 8-team playoff back in 2014, and then again in 2016. I’m doubling down on those posts here in 2021.

All the reasons I listed in both of those posts are still valid today, so I’m not going to rehash all of them here. Instead, let’s take a look at which teams would be in my 8-team playoff bracket this year.

To start with, each of the P5 schools get a seat at the table. Alabama represents the SEC, Michigan the B1G, Baylor the Big 12, Utah the Pac-12, and Pittsburgh the ACC. It puts even more emphasis on championship weekend and makes every conference championship game meaningful and worth something to the teams involved.

Then I would use the committee rankings to fill out the remaining 3 teams – Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and Georgia. I would use the rankings to determine the seedings and matchups.

If you remember back to my original posts, the first weekend games are hosted at the campus sites. I would recommend hosting them on Friday and Saturday evenings and using them as the games to kick-off the bowl season. I can already see the ESPN marketing spots.

Let’s face it, having more than 8 teams is just too many at this level. These playoff games would be high energy, high intensity games. After playing 12 or 13 games during the season, these athletes cannot be expected to go hard for four more games. At 17 games, that would be more than most NFL teams play. Plus, it brings the risk of injury into play, which would dilute the games and make the championship more a test of survival rather than skill. Even three weeks of playoffs is pushing it, but the two week break between games would give teams a chance to recover and prepare for the next round.

Just think how much better this year’s selection shows would have been. Instead of hours and hours of talking heads debating whether Georgia would be seeded third or fourth, which was the only question on the table, the discussion would have been way more interesting.

Is Notre Dame or Ohio State more worthy of the last spot, and should Ole Miss be considered?

What about seeding? With more teams, the committee would have the latitude to create more interesting matchups.

It’s time to drop the 12 team proposal. 8 is the right number, and the powers that be need to make it happen. In fact, it should’ve been done 5 years ago. What are they waiting for?

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