The College Football Playoff: Why It Should Be 16 Teams


While the 4 team playoff that was implemented a few seasons ago is a start, I think it still needs to expand more and I think the magic number is 16. A 16 team playoff to me just makes sense. Currently there are 10 conferences in the football bowl subdivision: American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference, Pac-12 Conference, Southeastern Conference, and Sun Belt Conference. There are also 3 Independent school who currently have no conference affiliation, and those are UMass, Army, Notre Dame, and BYU. To have the teams and conferences evenly distributed, I think these teams will need to join a conference to be eligible for the playoff.

So with 10 conferences, that means there would be 10 automatic bids given to each conference champion leaving 6 spots for at-large bids of teams that are the top 6 in the rankings but who did not win their conference.  I also think no conference should be allowed more than 2 teams.  Currently the 4 team playoff rotates sites each year with this years sites being the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and the National Championship being in Atlanta, GA.  With the 16 team playoff the idea will be the same, with the 2 semifinal games and the national championship rotating at the major sites.  The difference would be the first 2 rounds, with the higher seed in each match-up getting to host the game at their home stadium.  This would give fans a chance to see their team in another meaningful game, as well as help the school bring in some more revenue.  I think this idea only makes sense, and I hope the NCAA realizes this and further expands the field to 16.
Here is, hypothetically, what the first round match-ups could look like currently, if the field was expanded to 16 teams.
  • 1. Clemson vs 16. Notre Dame
  • 8. Toledo vs  9. Florida Atlantic
  • 4. Auburn vs 13. Ohio State
  • 5. USC vs 12. Miami
  • 2. Oklahoma vs 15. Washington
  • 7. Fresno St. vs 10. Arkansas State
  • 3. Wisconsin vs 14. TCU
  • 6. UCF vs 11. Alabama
I don't know about anyone else, but I think this would be an amazing playoff to watch and I hope this is a possibility in the future.