Fans want to see the College Football Playoff expanded and here are the three most logical ways to make it happen.
Earlier this week, a survey of college football fans was published by The Athletic and the topic was the expansion of the College Football Playoff.
Few topics are hotter among fans, especially those who don’t follow elite programs such as Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame and others .
The College Football Playoff has created an exclusive club in college football, and unless something is done, the separation between the elite and everyone else will only grow.
As Andy Staples of The Athletic posted on Twitter, nearly 83 percent of the more than 3,000 college football fans who responded to the survey want expansion.
The survey also talked about potential options for the College Football Playoff. As with ranking the top four teams, everyone has their opinion, and here is mine on what needs to happen with expansion. Here are at least the three best options.
Expanding the College Football Playoff to eight teams appears to be the most likely scenario. This keeps the focus on the regular season and would not drastically change the bowling system.
From a scheduling standpoint, the quarterfinals could take place a week or two after the conference championship games. The rest of the playoffs could follow the current schedule.
Some adjustments to the regular season may need to be made, either moving the start forward a week or removing a non-conference game, playing 11 total, then adding the 12th game in conference championship week. Have each team play the same way the Big Ten did last year with crossover games.
The biggest debate in the 8-team playoffs is who gets the automatic bids? Currently, there are none in the College Football Playoff.
Many want a Group of Five champion to get an automatic spot, on par with the other five leagues. This seems to be the biggest step behind the idea, otherwise some fear there will only be 3-4 SEC teams out of eight.
Notre Dame also puts a damper on the mix. If you guarantee a spot to six conference champions, the Irish should compete for one of two at-large spots. But that’s the price of doing business if you refuse to attend a conference.
Ultimately, the conference champions should get a bid, especially in the Power 5. A top-ranked Group of Five team also deserves a chance. These programs deserve the chance to compete for a national championship, which they should have the chance to win if they win all their games.
However, there should be minimum requirements for all conference champions. An 8-4 team shouldn’t be able to claw its way back from winning a mediocre division and winning a championship game.
I would suggest any team ranked in the top 15 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, that also wins their conference or is the highest ranked team in the Group of Five, get automatic entry.
Personally, a play-in match between the No. 8 seed and the first Group of Five champion would be a lot of fun, but the schedule doesn’t really make sense.
Something like this seems more likely if the playoffs are extended. But what about a 12-team format?