The College Football Playoff Committee casually in their spring meetings floated out that they had toyed with 63 different ideas for expanding the playoff from 4 teams, including options with 6, 8, 10, and even 16 teams.. When you have that many options cooked up, it basically means that expansion is inevitable.

We’ve been blessed ever since moving on from the BCS system to a format that at

Photo: Chris O’Meara / Associated Press

least allows some form of a playoff, but every year it seems as if we’ve found a new reason to be unhappy with the four selected participants. Someone always feels left out when you have four spots available and literally FIVE major conferences that we refer to as the Power Five. The dramatic selections have become a reality TV show and the regular season feels like The Hunger Games where the moment you lose a game, you’re just dead- your fan base’s hope for the postseason has withered away. There isn’t any margin for error, especially if you aren’t a major program who will inevitably get the benefit of the doubt from the committee. There have been six undefeated Group of 5 champions that haven’t even been in consideration for the playoff because they have absolutely no resume playing the competition that they do, but the committee can’t place value on record for one school and then impressive body of work for the other. There needs to be some form of consistency.

And by consistency, I mean fun. It’s a college sport and it should be fun for viewers, fans, and the people playing it. So, let’s make the most fun college football playoff format.

Rule One: Conference Realignment

There are no more SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12, or Big 10. I’ve realigned six conferences based off of geography, along with adding 8 schools that should be in the Power Five in the first place: Notre Dame, Memphis, UCF, SMU, Houston, Boise State, BYU, and Cincinnati for a total of 72 teams (they also have much more fun conference names- no one wants to chant “Pac-12! Pac-12!” to create conference pride).*

Barbecue Brawlers: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, TCU, SMU, Texas A&M, Kansas, K-State, Nebraska, Missouri

Wild Wild West: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Boise State, Stanford, Colorado, USC, UCLA, Cal, BYU, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State

Midwest Monsters: Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame

Southeast Beasts: Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Kentucky

Atlantic Coast Anarchy: Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Miami, UCF, Wake Forest, Duke, UNC, Duke, NC State

East Coast Combat: West Virginia, Pitt, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College, Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech

*However, if we’re also going to realign conferences based off of geography, any of the rivalry games that would no longer be in-conference matchups would still need to be required as an out-of-conference game. Florida and Georgia would be in two different conferences, but there’s no way we’re missing out on the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Rule 2: Eight Team Playoff Format

Four teams isn’t a satisfactory amount right now, but it should still be difficult to get in. We don’t want 10 or 16 teams in with 3 or 4 loss teams making the argument that they could beat an undefeated #1 seed, and there are other factors that would impact having too much playoffs, too. 

Ultimately, you want the BEST team to win. March Madness with 68 team brackets is a lot of fun, but no, it doesn’t necessarily mean the best team takes home the trophy amidst the chaos. Less games in a playoff gives us a more accurate and deserving champion.

You also don’t want there to be too many playoff games and risk the highly-regarded NFL prospects that would be playing in those games to opt out of playing to protect their health before reaching the pros to make money if they end up playing extra games. There are already players opting out of bowl games as it is, so the idea that their inner circles of people could convince them to sit out of playoff games in favor of their longevity isn’t out of the question. College football needs their stars to want to play and have incentive to play.

That brings us to a total of 8 teams. You get 6 major conference champions with automatic bids, this makes the regular season valuable, you get one at-large bid voted on by the committee, and you get the best team from a conference not in the “big six.” As much as we dislike when what we feel are the wrong teams are selected by the committee, the drama and entertainment aspect of it is riveting. The selection show is appointment-viewing every year in the most reality TV way possible, and it fuels the passion and fiery arguments between fan bases in college football. You get the 6 teams that earned their way in as the top seeds, then the last two “wild cards” would be the most-impressive teams to not win their conference and are from a conference outside of the “big six”, so resume-building during the year and looking impressive would still matter.

Rule 3: No preseason rankings

College football is a game where the rosters drastically change every single year with players either graduating, going pro, or transferring. The idea that we already know who the 25 best teams are before a single snap is played is absurd and leads to giving teams with the benefit of the doubt from their history an unfair leg up in the rankings. The first ranking shouldn’t happen until we’ve at least played three games to see what each team is made of.

Rule 4: Play the playoff games at college stadiums, not neutral-sited mega stadiums

The playoff needs to be a showcase for the character and traditions of colleges all across the country. No player cares about playing their bowl game in a domed stadium in New Orleans when many of them will be playing there in the NFL the next year. Playing at college campuses would be a good recruiting outlet for these schools, too- the campus would be broadcast on the highest of stages for millions of eyes to see. Travelers from the schools playing there would get to tour the campus and get a feel for what the gameday experience is like elsew

here.

We don’t want these games played in a lifeless AT&T Stadium with a rock band playing the halftime show. We want to see the marching band and the student section and the traditions that make the sport great.

Expanding the playoffs and realigning the conferences is a win for everyone. There would be more games that matter during the regular season. The recruiting would be more widespread and balanced with prospects feeling they would still have a chance at winning a championship outside of the top four schools every year. There needs to be more parity in order to grow the game to wider audiences and get quality football all across the country every single week.

(And this would just be a whole lot more fun.)

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