SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The College Football Playoffs are going to expand. Nothing is official but all signs point to an expanded college football postseason from four teams to possibly as many as 16 teams.
However, all signs are pointing to a dozen teams being the potential field according to an unnamed Power 5 athletic director. Going to 12 is a big leap since the higher ups within college football usually move at a glacial pace, and while this potential 12 team set up is not official by any means it is a big leap.
Going to this many teams guarantees all five champions from the Power 5 conferences, which will help the Pac-12, who have been left out more often than not in the current four-team iteration. Even if the field was pared down to eight teams it would still give those leagues a seat at the table.
A 12-team field has a lot of options and it will in all likelihood include at the very least one Group of Five conference champion and even the top two could be in consideration. In that latter option, there would still be five at-large teams and that should be enough quality teams that can compete for a national title.
Odds are that the Power 5 commissioners would allow just one automatic bid from the Group of Five.
What Is The Best Bracket?
There will never be a bracket that is perfect for a College Football Playoff. There will be leagues that are upset and also the bowl games that get left out of the rotation since an expanded playoff would diminish even more of the bowl games.
KSL Sports Scott Mitchell likes a 12-team playoff and his top choice has the two teams that make a conference champion game from a Power 5 league make the playoffs, and then there would be a pair of at-large teams.
This would make appearing in a conference title game very important and the most important goal as that would qualify a team for a playoff. This could and should lead to better non-conference games because losing an out of league game won’t really matter, so that would be a plus for fans to see more high-profile games.
“An easy way to do it with 12 teams is to just take the Power 5 conferences and take the top two teams in the conference automatically to the playoff,” Mitchell said. “There’s a couple of teams every year and those are the teams the Boise’s or BYU or whomever it might be that that at least should be in the conversation and should have had an opportunity to do it as an at-large.”
That path clearly keeps the money within the Power 5 structure would create a bigger divide between the Group of 5 and even BYU who is in between those two but closer in terms of money to the G5 compared to the P5.
Mitchell does have another option that would open it up to more at-large teams by giving Power 5 conference champions an auto berth.
“You could just have one from each Power Five conference and then and then just kind of do the rest after the two arrests at large,” Mitchell added. “You may get three or four teams from the SEC, who knows. But you’d certainly get the top 12 teams in the country and that’s what it should be.”
Going with twelve does seem like the best number as it would include the teams that really have a shot at a national title. The only big decision after the number of teams is what is the criteria to earn a spot into the field.