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How an 8 team playoff could work

In its simplest definition, football is a game. With all the pageantry in college football, we tend to move away from the fundamentals of what a game truly is. The most important aspect of a game is fun. Games are supposed to be fun, and if you’re not having fun, there’s no point to it. The mean bullies over at the NCAA continue to drain the fun away, but that argument’s for another day. What I want to talk about is what now seems to be the inevitable 8-team playoff, coming to a New Year’s Eve/Day near you. I know what you’re thinking, “How would all this work? That’s twice as many teams as before!” But do not fret, here’s a few suggestions on how it can work:

1) Each power-5 conference champion gets a spot, plus three wildcards

Using this method, the playoff committee would be tasked with ranking the conference champions, and then deciding who gets the three wild card spots. The top four teams would get a home playoff game, while the last four would travel to whomever they match-up against. Once those games play through, the bowls would pick up and the semifinals would be played in neutral sites. Based on the committee’s current ranking, here’s how the match-ups would look:

No. 1 Clemson (ACC) vs. No. 8 Notre Dame (Independent)

No. 2 Alabama (SEC) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (Big Ten)

No. 3 Michigan State (Big Ten) vs. No. 6 Stanford (Pac-12)

No. 4 Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. No. 5 Iowa (Big Ten)

Just look at those match-ups. An Ohio State-Alabama rematch in Tuscaloosa? That sounds like a plot to a Star Wars movie, “Revenge of the Saban”. There’s also Notre Dame journeying back to Death Valley for the second time in one season. If that’s not enough, the dazzling Christian McCafferey faces a very good Michigan State defense. These games would take place over the course of two days, and those two days would be absolutely incredible. Sorry in advance to all those who would be neglected by loved ones. Just missing the cut would be Florida State, North Carolina, and TCU. Of course, with the 8th seed now being the most important spot, the committee might have a different ranking.

2) The top 8 Teams go no matter what, so the SEC can have 8 teams in the playoff

This year, nothing would change because all five conference champions are in the top 8. This method has two key differences than the aforementioned one:

  1. This would give a mid-major more of a chance to sneak in the playoffs, so welcome 2007 Boise State.
  2. This would leave out a power-5 conference champion not ranked in the top 8. So if a conference is having a bad year, they will not be represented in this model. Sorry Big 12 and Art Briles but the playoffs are just too small for a Texas team.

So to summarize, the top 8 teams as decided by the people of America the flawless, non-bias college football playoff committee will go and no one else.

3) The power-five conference champions and best mid-major get an automatic bid, with two wild card spots

This method sounds like a lot of fun but would make a lot of people very angry. This year, Houston is the highest ranked mid-major and would lock up the number 8 seed although they are ranked 18th. The only difference here would be to take out Notre Dame and replace them with Houston. I’m not crazy about this idea, but if it were Keenan Reynolds and Navy getting that 8th spot…

4) Make a 12 team playoff and everyone’s invited

Once the 8 team playoff comes, which is more of a “when” rather than an “if” at this point, the 12 team playoff argument will begin. This will give you everything you want, and there will be so much fun football. But you know what would be better, right? Of course, a 16 team playoff. And this process will continue until eventually the college football season would open with the playoffs. Finally, preseason rankings matter. Congratulations to Jeremy Johnson for winning the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

Ben Brewton
Writer at Nole Gameday covering football and basketball. FSU alum. Follow me on twitter (@Ben_Brewton) and we can talk sports. On the 8th day, God created college football.

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