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A topic of discussion every year is whether the College Football Playoff should remain in its current format, which features four teams, or move to a larger format, perhaps featuring eight teams. Should the change be made? Here are the pros and cons of changing the current CFP format to feature eight teams as opposed to four.
Every season it seems like there are teams that were snubbed and left out of the CFP. For example, in the 2014 season, both TCU and Baylor were one-loss Big 12 teams that were on the outside looking in, and they could do no more to prove they belonged in the CFP. This past season, Big Ten champion Penn State was left out while Ohio State, who did not win the Big Ten championship, was in. An eight-team format would allow these teams that did not make it in to play their way into the semifinals or even the championship to prove their doubters wrong.
Also, an eight-team format would provide more meaningful football in bowl season. Let’s face it; when the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl feature two of the nation’s top 8 teams but have no national championship implications, the meanings of those historic games are very much diminished. Sure, it’s good football, but what does it mean aside of being Rose Bowl champion or Sugar Bowl champion for a year?
Having just four teams in the CFP increases the chance of having the true best team not in. In fact, all four of the past two season’s semifinals have been blowouts. With eight teams, more great teams would have a chance to win the championship. Even if the champion isn’t one of the teams ranked #5 through #8, at least we’ll know that the champion is truly the best team given that they would have conquered a field of eight instead of just four.
Having the College Football Playoff feature eight teams takes away the drama of selection day. It would essentially guarantee a CFP bid for each of the five Power Five conference champions, so essentially non-conference champions would only be sweating it out for three spots instead of the current four that everyone is going for.
Also, one small change that seems necessary could prompt more larger changes that aren’t. It’s been just three seasons with the four-team format, yet people are calling for an expansion. How long until the eight-team format gets old and people start demanding 16 teams? 32 teams? 64 teams?
The only good CFP games the past two seasons have been the national championship games. All four of the semifinal games over the past two seasons have been blowouts. Is the solution really having the #1 team face the #8 team instead of the #4 team and the #2 team face the #7 team instead of the #3 team? Not unless you want more boring football.
With all of this in mind, you make the call. Is the College Football Playoff good as is, or should the NCAA expand it to an eight-team format?