Will college football ever have a real playoff of 8 teams or more?

Will college football ever have a real playoff of 8 teams or more?

Dexter Callaghan 28 Jul 2023

The Great College Football Playoff Debate

Every now and again, Dexter likes sharing about his favorite involvements, and college football is right up there. There's something indescribably binding about the camaraderie that a thrilling match can create. This brings me to the meaty topic at hand. One of the most widely discussed issues in the college football world today - the possibility of a real playoff of 8 teams or more. Let's buckle up and take a deep dive into why this idea seems both ingenious and implausible at the same time.

History and Current Format of College Football

Now, if you're a newcomer to college football, let me give a brief overview before we venture onto the playoff discussion. The tradition of college football playoffs dates back to the early 20th century. Whipping our way through the pages of time, today it culminates in the College Football Playoff (CFP) championship. The current format of the CFP format, instituted in the 2014-2015 season, allows four teams in the playoff, with two semifinal games leading up to the championship.

Over the years, this format has proven beneficial in crowning champions based on the team's proven strengths. Yet, I can't help but feel that it has some limitations. That's because it leaves out numerous worthy teams due to the tightly-knot structure of a 4-team cut-off limit. That's where the thought of an 8-team playoff (or more) comes into the spotlight.

Arguments, Pros, and the Appeal of an 8-team Playoff or More

There is a wave of voices calling for a shift, a change that allows for an expansion of the playoff format. A transition from a 4-team to an 8-team playoff lingered, often emerging after disputes on the inequality faced by a 'group of five' teams. There's a belief that it could open up more opportunities for teams outside the 'Power Five' conferences. Furthermore, an 8-team format would solve some of the primary concerns regarding multiple undefeated teams missing out.

Interestingly, a long-held argument for 8-team playoffs is that it would ensure at least a shot for every top-ranked team to compete in a level playing field. Looking back, I remember that one time my college team was left out due to an unfortunate end-season loss despite having an otherwise impressive record. If we had an 8-team format, my college team could have clinched a spot.

Obstacles and Cons of an Expanded Playoff

While the idea of an expanded playoff might sound like the answer to all of our woes, it isn't as simple as it seems. With every new proposition comes its unique challenges. From my standpoint, expanding the playoff would mean extending the season, posing potential risks for players' health and academic obligations. Not to mention that Collegiate players are still developing physically and mentally.

Furthermore, longer playoffs could dilute the magic of regular seasons. Yes, you heard it right - not every hard-knock game can feel like a playoff clash. The sheer intensity of the stakes and elevated level of performance in a playoff game cannot be replicated. And if every game feels visually similar, we might undermine the value of playoff games.

The Future of College Football Playoff

Fasten your belts because predicting the future in the world of college football is as gripping as the game itself. Even though the idea of expanding the number of teams seems to be gaining traction, actualizing it is a different ballgame altogether. Sure, fans and players alike might find more opportunity and thrill with an expanded playoff, but the NCAA and college administrators have to grapple with the logistics, finances, and the potential risk to the health of the players.

In the end, as thrilling as a wider playground sounds, the practical considerations cannot be overlooked. As someone who is a fan, as well as a former player and now a blogger, I have seen the landscape of college football evolve. Meandering between memories of wild cheers at my college stadium and witnessing the current debates, I wait with bated breath for what the future holds for this high-adrenaline sport. The sphere of college football might move towards a larger playing field, or it might stick to its roots. But no matter the path it takes, the love and vibrancy of college football will remain undiminished.

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