A 12-Team College Football Playoff Might Be Coming, But Should It?

Jun 9, 2021, 2:14 PM
College Football Playoff Logo...
IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 16: A detail view of the College Football Playoff logo shown during a press conference on October 16, 2013 in Irving, Texas. Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor and former United States Secretary of State, was chosen to serve as one of the 13 members that will select four teams to compete in the first playoff at the end of the 2014 season. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – That sound everyone is hearing surrounding college football the past few days is a loud roar in approval for the College Football Playoff finally realizing that a four-team invitational is not the best idea for the sport.

Nothing is finalized but Yahoo Sports is reporting that a 12-team field is gaining momentum and will be presented to the group that will ultimately make a decision in a few weeks. The gist of the new playoff would allow for all Power 5 teams to earn an automatic bid, plus one Group of 5 team, plus six at-large teams to fight it out. There would be byes built-in as well as home games in the opening round.

This would be a true playoff and everyone would love this expanded access. There would be more meaningful games in the post-season, and even if the title game was some combination of Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State; people would love the journey.

There would be a renewed emphasis on winning your conference title with a playoff spot on the line during the conference championship and even better non-conference games since losing against a top-10 team would not knock anyone out of a playoff run from a power conference.

It all sounds great because an expanded playoff is what people have wanted for decades in this sport to provide a true champion.

Both-Siding College Football Expansion

Essentially everyone is in favor of the College Football Playoff expanding, there are a few reasons to maybe pull in the reigns and either not go to 12 or make modifications for the regular season.

There are things like player safety that is a big deal and adding more games would go against that but the athletic directors and conference commissioners would go along with it to cash a massive check with an expanded playoff field. Of course, none of the players see that money directly as it would be spent on coaching salaries and facilities on campuses.

Name, image, and likeness will be a thing once the playoff expands, but it would be pennies on the dollar compared to actually distributing this extra playoff money more directly to the players. Whether actual checks or something more tangible to these athletes that are the entertainment for a billion-dollar industry. A water park built at their facility or a giant 4K television screen inside their locker is only useful for just a short time.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell is in 100 percent favor of an expanded playoff but points out some obstacles that will be brought up as a reason to not go to 12 teams.

“Is there something we’re missing or are we blinded by our bias to not really look at why it is so precious to only have these four same teams every year?” Mitchell asked. “It’s a group of people in a hotel deciding by some reason why these teams should be playing, and it’s not just put them on the field and have them play, it’s just who we feel is the best team. It just I just it just baffles me.”

Mitchell comes up with a handful of ideas – ones he may not agree with – from people who think adding teams to the College Football Playoff is a bad idea.

“I think that the bowl traditions. It’s the great bowls. It’s the New Year’s Six bowl and I guess they are concerned with those traditional relationships and bowl experiences, plus these these these cities that own these bowls and these bowl committees that own these bowls,” Mitchell added. “The Rose Bowl has been around forever and is an amazing tradition and that would be a concern why [to not add to the playoff].”

Tradition is great but these bowl games are also after money, which is why even the Rose Bowl has a sponsor. It may not be the Brand X Rose Bowl, but plenty of Rose Bowls have been sponsored in the name such as the Rose Bowl presented by Capital One, so they are making money off the name.  These bowls don’t want to be watered down and be called Round 2 of the College Football Playoff.

The other valid issue Mitchell presents is playing way too many games and not enough rest or time off.

I think another concern about this is the length of the season that it takes on these student-athletes out of the classroom through their Christmas break,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t give them the time off and it could be in some way like a risk to their health or their emotional well-being. I don’t know what it is. But the season goes on too long is a concern right now.”

The season would be very long for teams that could play a 12-team regular season and got to a national title game and would 17 games. That is a lot of games but the argument against that is the FCS level has a much large field and teams can play basically an NFL schedule worth of games.

These are concerns that will come up and maybe some adjustments could be made for an extra bye week during the year or an adjusted off-season schedule to allow for recovery time from a grueling season.

None of this will matter since money rules all and schools can now literally afford a Scrooge McDuck gold coin swimming pool with the exponentially more money a 12-team playoff field will net from the next media rights deal.

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