KSL UNRIVALED

16-Team College Football Playoff Benefits Pac-12

Jan 9, 2023, 4:03 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 1:38 pm
College Football Playoff Trophy...
ATLANTA, GA - December 6: The National Championship trophy is displayed following the College Football Playoff Semifinal Head Coaches News Conference on December 6, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The 12-team College Football Playoff is still two title games away but there are already rumblings of a 16-team playoff once the two-year audition of an expanded field begins during the 2024 season.

The news of a 16-team field was one of many options put forth by the working group and they settled on the upcoming 12-team field that gives a spot to the highest six-rated conference champions with the top four league winners with a bye, and then six at-large spots.

This two-year audition could just be to see how TV ratings will do with more teams given a shot at a national title, plus adding more teams will keep more conferences involved and not allow college football to shrink with what teams or leagues are winning titles.

Former SMU and current TCU head coach Sonny Dykes who is coaching his Horned Frogs in the current title game has support for an expanded field.

“I have [thought a 16-team playoff is superior],” Dykes said. “I’ve thought that way for a long time.”

Also, it is not shocking to hear from Group of Five commissioners are in favor of a 16-team field which could allow more of those programs get a crack at making a Cinderella run.

Former Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson — a large proponent of expanded access to the postseason dating back to the BCS era — was part of the playoff working group and thinks 16 is the right number.

RELATED: TCU’s College Football Playoff Title Game Run Came At A Perfect Time For Big 12

“I think [16 teams is] the most natural,” said Thompson. “I’m not advocating for it, but … I can’t imagine a scenario that it’s at least not discussed [before 2026].”

While this will help the Group of Five get maybe three teams in a very special year, it also can help the Pac-12 Conference.

Pac-12 Would Have Four Teams In For 2022

The last Pac-12 team to make the College Football Playoff was the Washington Huskies in 2017. That streak nearly ended this year but Utah upset USC in the conference title game to knock them out.

If there was a 16-team playoff in 2022 the Pac-12 would have five teams in the field — assuming the 12-team format of six highest-rated champs and the rest are at-large teams get in to fill out the field — the conference would have five teams.

Those five teams would be Utah, USC, Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington. That number would be the most of any conference. The SEC and Big Ten would have three teams.

Unrivaled’s Alex Kirry firmly believes that this type of Pac-12 inclusion is something that would massively benefit the Pac-12 conference and get rid of some bad bowl games.

“You would have five in for the Pac Twelve, Oregon, Washington, USC, Utah, and Oregon State,” Kirry said. “First of all that’s over a quarter of all the teams in the College Ball Playoff.  This is the part that was most interesting to me, because you got Michigan and Ohio State, and Penn State. That’s three [from the Big Ten and that’s it].

“The garbage bowls I really hate and there are a lot of games I think everybody points at that Citrus Bowl, where it was 63 to seven, LSU over Purdue. This is how you make those games more relevant. If you’re going to have a bunch of bowl games, have that first week of home venues, and then after that, you’re going to go through you’re going to work through some more bowl games.  Those bowls would mean something now because they would be a first-round game. So I don’t say throw away the classic venues.”

The excitement level would be off the charts for more meaningful college football games in the postseason. Conference titles would now mean a lot more and these off-the-wall bowl games that change their sponsors every few years would be more meaningful.

At 16, there would be no more arguing if a team would have “earned” its national title because team No. 17 would have no chance to win four more games to claim a title, because if they were good enough they’d be ranked high enough for the playoff.

The first two, and currently only years of the 12-team playoff need to do extremely well if the sport is going to expand to 16 teams after that trial balloon of tripling the field, people need to watch and show excitement so that the sport can grow and possibly feature some new faces to hoist the championship trophy.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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16-Team College Football Playoff Benefits Pac-12