Why the College Football Playoff needs to expand to eight teams

Why the College Football Playoff needs to expand to eight teams

Though Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington are all worthy teams, the CFP should be expanded to eight teams.

I think most of us can agree that the current College Football Playoff format is better than the BCS. Instead of just matching up two of the best teams in the country to play for all the marbles, four of the best teams now have the chance to prove who’s the best of the four on the field. This year, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington are the contenders, but there should be four more. Here are the top eight schools, plus the highest ranked Group of 5, in the final CFP ranking:

1) Alabama 13-0
2) Clemson 12-1
3) Ohio State 11-1
4) Washington 12-1
5) Penn State 11-2
6) Michigan 10-2
7) Oklahoma 10-2
8) Wisconsin 10-3

15) Western Michigan 13-0

Except for Western Michigan, the CFP committee picked the Power 5 schools with the fewest losses. It makes sense, to a point. The main sticking point for many fans this year is Penn State not getting a nod even though they won the Big Ten, beating CFP participant Ohio State in the process. Some think Penn State should be in over Ohio State, while others think that Penn State should be in over Washington who had a weaker strength of schedule.
Then there are some others who think that Oklahoma should be ranked higher since they won the Big 12 by winning their last ten games. Then there are those who think Western Michigan should be given a shot due to their undefeated record. If the NCAA expanded the playoff to eight teams, almost every CFP controversy in the past three years would have been alleviated.

In 2014, the first year of the playoff, here were the final rankings:
1) Alabama 12-1
2) Oregon 12-1
3) Florida State 13-0
4) Ohio State 12-1
5) Baylor 11-1
6) TCU 11-1
7) Mississippi State 10-2
8) Ole Miss 9-3

20) Boise State 11-2

The big controversy in 2014 was that Ohio State jumped ahead of Baylor and TCU in that final week to nab the fourth slot. If you had eight teams, you would have had all six Power 5 champions in Alabama (SEC), Oregon (Pac-12), Florida State (ACC), Ohio State (Big Ten) and the Big 12 co-champs, Baylor and TCU. For the eighth and final playoff spot, the powers-that-be could choose either the eighth ranked team or the highest ranked Group of 5 team. I could almost write another article discussing that debate. If the committee picked the top seven teams plus Boise State, you’d have the eight teams with the best records that year.

In 2015, here were the final rankings:

1) Clemson 13-0
2) Alabama 12-1
3) Michigan State 12-1
4) Oklahoma 11-1
5) Iowa 12-1
6) Stanford 11-2
7) Ohio State 11-1
8) Notre Dame 10-2

18) Houston 12-1

There wasn’t too much controversy last year. Stanford was one of the hottest teams at the end of the season and there were three one loss teams that all could make an argument for being in the top four. In an eight team playoff, if Houston had been picked as the eighth team over Notre Dame, you would have had the eight teams with the best record. End of story.

This year, if you picked the top seven teams plus Western Michigan, you’d again have the eight teams with the best records. Plus, with an eight team playoff, none of the Power 5 conferences would have been left out so no conference could claim any bias.

To sum up, in each year of the first three years of the CFP, the top seven teams in the final ranking plus the highest Group of 5 team had the best records in college football that year. Sure, the ninth and tenth place teams could always gripe, but that would happen even with 64 team playoff. Anyways, the answer seems simple to me. The top seven team plus the highest Group of 5 team is the answer. A playoff with the eight teams with the best records is the playoff I (and a lot of fans) want.

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