Broadening the Bracket

Why the college football playoff should expand

After seeing the announcement of the four teams in the Div. 1 College Football Playoffs, it became apparent to me that four teams are simply not enough.

The playoffs need to expand to 16 teams.

Now I know there are plenty of people who would disagree with me, but here are some reasons why the College Football Playoffs should be composed of 16 teams instead of four.

1. Best teams get a chance – I’m pretty sure anyone who follows college football knows that there are more than just four teams that deserve a chance. Penn State got robbed and won’t be able to play in the playoff although they won the Big Ten Conference Championship. They’re supposedly the toughest conference in college football, but they don’t get a shot at the National Championship. Now, I’m no Michigan fan by any means, but I know that they were good enough to at least get a chance to prove that they are the best team in the nation.

2. No more “Power Five” argument – With 16 teams making the playoffs, it leaves room for teams that are outside of the “Power Five” conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC) to make the playoffs. How about Western Michigan? They’re undefeated. Sure, they play in a pretty weak conference in the MAC (Mid American Conference). But I don’t care what conference a team plays in, if they’re undefeated, they should at least get a chance to go up against the best in the country.

3. Provides a second, sometimes third chance – Not every team can be perfect—except for maybe Alabama. Because of this and how hard it is to come out each and every week and win, an expanded field would let in two or maybe even three-loss teams. If there are six three-loss teams in the top 16 of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, I guarantee at least a couple are good enough to put up a fight against teams like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson. Florida State and Louisville have both lost three games, and both of those teams lost to Clemson by six points or less this year. That proves that they can hang with the best.

4. More football – Say whatever you want but more football is better than less football 110 percent of the time. Some may argue that the teams would have to play too many games—which is BS because you play 16 games in the NFL before even entering the playoffs. If a team wants to be the best in the nation, they should be able to play top-tier football for 16 or 17 games. These kids are in the best shape of their lives, I think they’ll be okay. The NCAA would make even more money and maybe they’d be willing to pay players with the extra funds… just kidding. The NCAA would never do something so logical.

5. Cinderella Stories – Think about March Madness and the 12-seeds beating the five-seeds every season. How glorious would this be in football? All it takes is a team to get hot at the right time, capitalize off a couple turnovers and a game can be flipped upside-down with the snap of a finger. How awesome would it be to see Western Michigan make it to the National Championship? Sure, it’s very unlikely but nobody has stopped P.J. Fleck and the Broncos from rowing the boat so far this season, so who is to say they can be stopped?

6. Don’t have to hear Michigan fans complain anymore – Sure, Michigan has a very good team this year. But they lost two of their last three games of the season and didn’t make their conference championship. Imagine if the team was just in the playoffs anyway and we didn’t have to hear Wolverine fans complain about the fact that, “there’s no way JT Barrett got that first down.” Well first, he did get the first down and second, here’s your opportunity to prove that you’re the best team in the nation. You’ve just got to win four games.

7. Look at Div. 2 – As I’ve been following Ferris State and watching this playoff unravel, the more and more I like the idea of larger playoff competitions. Ferris would have been written off as a top four team coming into the playoffs with two losses but look what happened, they’re now in the final four of the Div. 2 tournament. They caught fire after their first loss to Grand Valley and have been an unstoppable force ever since. This type of thing could happen every year.

Now I doubt that the NCAA will read this and be like, “You know what, Marshall? You’re right. You’re totally right. We’re going to implement this next year,” but I think that expanding the College Football Playoffs to 16 teams would be a great thing for the sport.