It’s becoming more clear that a 12 team playoff is inevitable in College Football. This is great for a sport that has recently lost some of its luster. Without even looking at a roster everyone knows Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State will all most likely be in the College Football Playoff this upcoming season. Ultimately the 12 team playoff being proposed will crown the undisputed national champion, where there is no doubt about if a more deserving team should have been included the final spot.
The playoff will include the top six conference champions, and six at-large teams. No power conference champion will receive an automatic bid. This gives the UCF’s, Boise State’s, and Cincinnati’s of College Football a legitimate chance to “shock the world”. Programs like Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin and Penn State have been after thoughts due to Alabama and Ohio State dominating their conference. Now they will have more of a chance to compete for College Football’s top prize.
Critics are saying that adding more teams to the field diminishes the regular season. I like to argue that it could mean more. The playoff is expanding, but the first four spots will remain significant. The top four will have a bye during the “play in” rounds. In the final weeks instead of the playoff coming down to about six or seven teams, you will now have at least 16 teams fighting for seeding or a spot at the dance. The more teams that have a championship to play for at the end of the year, the more compelled audiences will be to watch.
The “play in” rounds are going to be absolutely bananas when they begin. Playing a quality team outside of the conference always brings out the crazy in fans, but now adding championship indications will only intensify the atmosphere in every stadium. Personally, I am looking forward to the SEC coming up north and playing in December weather. Something that the entire conference will be less than thrilled about when the time comes.
This new format is not perfect. Independents including Notre Dame are not eligible for a first round bye. If this new format was implemented this upcoming year and Notre Dame had wins over Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, USC, and North Carolina they deserve a first round bye. Although this could force Notre Dame to join a conference which is something I am all for.
Lastly, this new 12 team format destroys bowl games. Right now there are too many bowls watering down “bowl season”. Even though I enjoy watching the “Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl” that game along with over twenty more bring almost nothing to the table. It wasn’t that long ago that playing on New Year’s Day was considered a good year. You’d be excited to watch your team along with the rest of the slated games. Ever since the playoff was installed in the 2014 season, those bowl games don’t really mean much to fans or players anymore. Hell, the New Years Six Bowls not associated with the playoff feel like a consolation prize at this point. With that being said, if all bowls outside the playoff already feel meaningless, might as well open the field and have the best damn playoff in sports.