CFP staples Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson rejoice!

Sports

If you enjoy seeing the same handful of teams in the College Football Playoffs like Alabama and Georgia every year, you're probably in luck!

If you enjoy seeing the same handful of teams in the College Football Playoffs like Alabama and Georgia every year, you’re probably in luck!
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Get ready for more of the Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, and the occasional roster rotation. College Football Playoff Director Bill Hancock announced Friday that the CFP is on its way current division with four teams until the end of 2025, when the current 12-year contract also expires. The ten-year contract began in the inaugural season of the national championship competition.

The statement concludes months of lengthy debate and multiple meetings about the possibility of expanding the playoffs to eight to 16 teams. The proposal with the most support was a 12-team model, which was publicly supported by the American Athletic Conference, the current home of CFP outsider Cincinnati. University presidents and sports directors appear to be content with the oversaturation of the top tier of the largest collegiate earnings sport and players’ opt-outs from every bowl game.

“While the outcome did not lead to a recommendation for an early extension before the end of the current 12-year contract, the discussions were helpful and informative,” Hancock said. “I am sure they will serve as a useful guide to the board of directors and the management committee as we have determined what the play-off will look like from the 2026-27 season.”

Staying with four teams is a failure for college football, with the loss of nearly one half a billion dollars in sales for the 10 FBS conferences, Notre Dame, and the rest of the classification independents. Many of the Power Five Conference teams could benefit from an extended playoff. The Southeastern Conference has consistently had multiple teams of the quartet qualify for two games of a national title. That total would undoubtedly increase every year.

Take the 2021 season. The Georgia and Alabama national championship fighters would have been accompanied by Ole Miss. The Big Ten Conference would also have a trio of teams made up of Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State. You’re telling me that a conference that won one national championship, the first, in the CFP era, wouldn’t want a fourth of the selected field? I think it’s the same as what they had in 2021, but Michigan was steamrolled by Georgia. Increasing the number of teams that can take home a title is beneficial in every way.

The other movement to keep it exclusive is important and still has legs. Every week is important. If you slip on any given Saturday in the fall, can the odds of a national championship go up in smoke? That’s an incredibly high bar. Any team that makes the current field of four teams deserves it because of those expectations. It also gives more legitimacy to the teams that are just missing something. Among the favorite format of 12 teams, number 13 has little impact on your national championship. Being on 12th isn’t much better. But they can prove it, they have to go through numbers 5, 4 and 1 if the seeding holds up to even reach a title game. That is one hell of a testing ground.

In that 12-team scenario, the top four teams would all make it to the quarterfinals, where the traditional New Year’s Six would begin. That would put four first-round GVB matches on college campuses. That would be an almost guaranteed sale. Unique matchups with huge stakes would create incredible atmospheres. A similar example would be when Cincinnati traveled and beat Notre Dame early in the 2021 season, probably knowing the CFP opportunities would be non-existent with a loss. The Bearcats defeated the Fighting Irish and carried the weight of the Group of Five for the rest of the year.

Hancock’s statement won’t mean much to the average college football fan. The bet of a semi-final will attract a lot of viewers, but it doesn’t feel that interesting to see the same programs competing for the title. Those in the elite club won’t care. It’s better that more schools use the recruiting slogan “we’re going to compete for a national championship” and actually get behind it. In any case, knowing that we are four seasons away from that becoming a reality is a sad realization. The sooner a new model for the College Football Playoff is adopted, the better the sport will be.

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