The College Football Playoff (CFP) can and should expand to eight teams. There are numerous reasons for suggesting this. First, and foremost, the fans want it. So does every FBS (I-A) school that has a football program. And it simply makes sense to allow four more teams the opportunity to win a national championship.
The scenario is very simple. Once championship week is over in early December, schools playing all but the earliest bowl games, which begin Saturday, December 15 on ABC and ESPN, often wait a month before they take the field again. While that certainly allows them to get healthy and begin to game plan for their opponent, why not spice it up a little with another playoff game, one they’d have to win to make the final four?
Instead of, or perhaps along with, having a plethora of minor bowl games that showcase Group of Five football programs, less than half-full stadiums and mediocre ratings, the bowl season could begin with four very exciting quarterfinal CFP games. Two could take place on Thursday and Friday nights respectively, and the other two could be played on Saturday. Although they’d overshadow the smaller bowl games, those games could still continue.
One question would be if the quarterfinals would be bowl games at all? Perhaps the reward for being one of the top four teams would be to host the first round on your home field. That would surely add some incentive. The seedings would obviously be No.1 vs. No. 8, and so on, just like any other bracket system, and the winners would advance. Upsets would not only be possible, but likely, and just like the NCAA Mens Basketball tournament, teams from smaller conferences might be able to make a mark if they get in.
Obviously the champions of the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12) would earn a bid. After that the choices would be at-large. Perhaps this season a team like the University of Central Florida with quarterback McKenzie Milton out of the American Athletic Conference would be the No. 8 seed taking on top-seeded Alabama. What college football fan wouldn’t watch that game?
Expanding the CFP has its share of critics. Some will tell you that there will always be a team or teams on the outside looking in. That’s true, but we have that now. As for competing with final exams? Well, that doesn’t seem to be a concern with the minor bowls that get under way two weekends prior to the Christmas holiday.
The bottom line is that college football is popular. Its post season is huge. Why not make it as good as it can be?