Late last night, College Football fans received some highly anticipated news, as the Rose Bowl signed its agreement with the College Football Playoff, allowing a 12-team playoff to take place beginning in 2024.
12 teams it is! Rose Bowl signs agreement w/@CFBPlayoff, which will allow @CFBPlayoff to expand to 12 teams starting in 2024, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 1, 2022
I’ve actually gone back and forth on why an expanded playoff could be a bad thing, but recently, I have come to the conclusion that people are just afraid of change, and this is absolutely what is best for the sport.
The only argument people have — I know this because I was on this side of the fence for a long time — is that an expanded playoff takes away from the lure of classic matchups in the middle of the season that basically make or break teams’ seasons. College Football has been so fantastic over the years because every game during the regular season feels like do or die. However, that’s really only the case for a few teams. A lot of teams have one or two losses by Week 6 and are already eliminated from CFB Playoff contention. With an expanded playoff, nearly every competitive team will feel like they have a chance to leave an impression on the committee until the very end, making so many more games meaningful over the course of the season.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at this week’s Conference Championship Weekend.
The only two games that really matter are USC and Utah/TCU and Kansas State. If USC or TCU lose, they could be in danger of missing the playoff. However, in an expanded playoff, those games would be about the underdogs — Utah and Kansas State. Win and they are in, lose and they are likely out. Beyond that, #14 LSU would have a chance to make a statement against Georgia and win their way in. Tulane could also earn a shot with a win over UCF in the American Championship. And Clemson would be in a must-win matchup against North Carolina. So don’t tell me games wouldn’t be important. Right now, 80% of the teams in the Conference Championships are eliminated. That all changes with playoff expansion.
But what about games like Georgia/Tennessee — a #1 matchup in the middle of the season with major playoff implications? Perhaps a game like that loses a little bit of its lure, but I don’t see rivalry games ever becoming boring. These programs have too much pride, and they still would be battling for a first-round bye. Plus, a matchup between two top teams doesn’t have as much impact currently as people think. If the game is close, neither team loses ground in the current format.
I could go on and on about the games throughout the season that would have had major playoff implications this year if there was a 12-team playoff. It’s well over double than there currently are, and it gives so many more teams a pulse at the end of the season that have typically already packed their bags by October.
And why don’t those guys deserve a chance? Because they lost during the regular season and don’t deserve to be in? Great! Then you’ll have no problem beating them by 20+ points. It’s not like the current playoff format has produced a ton of competitive games, but we still have no problem tuning in.
I’m hyped up just thinking about all the games that are going to matter now in November that usually wouldn’t, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part! We get to watch the 12 best teams slug it out at the end of the season. If you disagree now, I understand. You’re afraid of change. It’s human, but five years from now, you’ll be talking about how the expanded College Football Playoff is the best thing that’s happened to the game in a long time.
Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire
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