Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Opinion: 16 Reasons Why College Football Should Expand To A 16-Team Playoff


Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Badgers Fans, we at Badger of Honor have an idea…

NCAA college football is switching from the BCS format to the four-team playoff this season. But, a 16-team playoff makes more sense for college football for the fans, the universities, TV ratings and overall excitement. Of course, we’ll have to live with the 4-team playoff for some time but once all involved are used to the 4-team playoff I believe the sport, and the nation, would be ready for the 16-team playoff.

A 16-team playoff would include the conference championships from all 10 of the division one conferences with six at-large bids. The first two rounds would be played at the higher-seeded teams field, while the semi-finals and the National Championship would be played at specific cities; which would bid to host dramatic events.

Here are 16 reasons why a 16-team playoff makes sense for college football and should be implemented sometime in the future.

16. Every Conference Winner Gets Invited To The Playoffs: That’s right, finally college football will be more fair to the little guys. Every conference winner would receive a seat at the table and that would leave six at-large bids. Meaning, every power conference can potentially send two to three teams to the playoffs. So settle down SEC fanatics, you could send the multiple teams to the playoffs. Same goes for fans of the Big 10, Badgers fans.

15. No More Bowl Games In Half-Empty Stadiums: Instead of bowl games played in front of underwhelming crowds, the playoffs would be in front of packed stadiums (home playoff games). Imagine a playoff game at Camp Randall! That is, until the semi-finals and National Championship Game. No matter what city hosts the final three games of the season can you imagine the guaranteed excitement that will be generated. Sellouts all around, regardless of which teams and whatever cities are involved.

14. Money, Money, Money: A 16-team playoff creates ample advertising opportunities on a plethora of high-profile games that simply don’t exist in today’s college football. FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC’s mouths would be watering at the thought of broadcasting these games. Not to mention, the ticket revenue from (almost guaranteed) sold-out games on college campuses cannot be ignored; I’m sure Barry Alvarez would be on board with that. Money is the name of the game in college football and honestly…life. If you don’t believe that, you’re just not paying attention.

13. The Debates Won’t End With The Four-Team Playoff: The entire BCS era people debated which teams should be included in the championship game. With a four-team playoff, the teams ranked 5th, 6th, 7th will all be complaining about the lack of their inclusion; debates will ensue. Just think if it’s the Badgers who are the 5th team in the nation and not invited to the playoff. With a 16-team playoff all debates go out the window. Every conference champion and six at large bids will be included. If a team didn’t win their conference and isn’t one of the top six at large contenders they cannot really complain about the lack of their inclusion, ya dig?

12. Look At The Impact of the Expansion of the NCAA Basketball Tournament: Since opening the field up to 64 (68) teams, mid-major programs have actually competed in championship games and final fours. Did you ever hear of mid-major competing for championships in basketball when the field was only at 32 teams? Nope. People are weary of expansion until it makes the sport better. Look what the wildcard did for MLB.

11. No More 40-Point Spreads: At least in theory. Games could be watched without the guarantee of a non-culturually relevant blowout against a subpar team from across the country. With just conference games, even blowouts are relevant because they will be in-conference (Like when Wisconsin plays Indiana). Plus, it would be guaranteed to happen much less frequently than it does in today’s college football. Because really, these games don’t bring anything interesting or exciting to the game.

10. Semi-Finals And Championship Games Held At Neutral Sites: This allows the free market to take over and creates three very “Hot Tickets,” not to mention a big-time television events. This satisfies the competitive balance in Division 1 football while generating proper revenue opportunities and TV ad space for corporate companies. Cities will bid to host these games years in advance, I’m looking at you Indianapolis, Atlanta, Tampa, Detroit, Glendale…the list goes on.

9. More High Profile Games On College Campuses: Who would complain about that? The first two rounds of the 16 team playoff would be held on the campuses of the higher seeded teams. Imagine the atmosphere at playoff games in college football; ah exciting. Waking up in one of the great game day atmospheres, like Camp Randall, around the country the morning of a one-and-done scenario would be quite amazing.

8. No More Scheduled Cupcakes: The elimination of non-conference play will work wonders for the game. The meaning of every single game would be vastly more important that in today’s college football. As if we didn’t love the sport enough, every game would be a valuable part of the season. Plus, traveling would be easier to manage both on players and fans. I don’t hear anyone complaining about more conference games, that’s what hardcore fans live for. Convenience just makes sense doesn’t it?

7. Puts Prestige Back In Winning Conference Championship: There will be added incentive to win the conference championship. Also, it gives EVERY SINGLE college football team a chance to compete for the National Championship EVERY YEAR, just like in college basketball. How refreshing that would be. Opportunities, hope and legitimate Cinderella stories can manifest each year…unlike it today’s game of traditional powers given the benefit of the doubt every year. Plus, winning the Big 10 would guarantee a chance at the National Championship; unlike now.

6. Bowl Games Could Still Be Preserved: For college football bowl purists…the second round could be (could be) the four classic bowl games; albeit not in their original stadiums. The second round would have eight teams competing in four games. Those four games, in the four separate regions, could be the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl. These games could maintain their current sponsors as well for TV and advertising purposes. Change IS ok.

5. Eliminates the “December Dead Period” of College Football: We all dread the four-week absence that college football takes every year. This playoff system does away with that boring waiting period and keeps college football relevant all season. Every year, teams lose momentum as the nation sits and waits for bowl season. If there’s one consistent complaint about college football, it’s the period of nothingness in december. The 16-team playoff rids us of that complaint. No other sport takes a month off for the postseason, it’s time for college football to catch up.

4. Mid-Major Teams Actually Have A Chance: In a four-team playoff mid-major programs have just about a zero percent chance at being invited to the playoffs. But in a 16-team playoff, every year, every single damn year, all fans would go into the season knowing they have a legitimate chance being invited to the playoffs. Subsequently, every team would have a chance at the championship. Can you say the same about today’s college football? That’s what I thought. Badgers, and the little guys, would be happy about this.

3. Value Of Season Ticket Packages Increased: For example, fans of the Wisconsin Badgers won’t have to pay for season tickets and have to sit through a game against Middle Tennessee State. Thank goodness. For fans who spend their hard-earned money on season tickets, this format ensures less boredom at games when the third stringers are dominating the other team’s starters for the entire second half. Wins are fun but 70-3 victories get old really freakin’ fast. I mean, fans make the game go ’round, it’s time to reward them.

2. Brackets: Let that soak in. &$%#ing Brackets in college football. Have you ever been so excited for something in your entire life? A 16-team bracket that everyone would print out and compare. Except with this bracket you’d actually have a chance to get all of the games right. Likely? No. Possible? Yes. Seriously, brackets for college football — I’ll raise a glass to that. I’m sure other Badgers fans would, too.

1. A True Undisputed Champion Is Crowned: Any team that could make a claim that it is the best team in the nation will get their chance in the playoffs. Sure, 4-team playoff brings a more true champion than a computer system that chooses two teams. But, look at the NCAA tournament in college basketball, a one-seed doesn’t always win it all. Often a two, three or four, etc., takes home the championship. Thus, a 16-team playoff guarantees that an undisputed champion is crowned every year in college football. We would never have to hear of a controversy again in defining college football’s champion; beautiful. And with how the Badgers are competitive every year, they could definitely bring home a National Championship under this format.

Until this happens, it is just a wish but I certainly believe it would work. What do you Badgers Fans think about a 16-team playoff?

Tags: B1G Badgers Football Big 10 Big 12 Big Ten NCAA Football PAC-12 SEC UW Badgers Wisconsin Badgers Wisconsin Badgers Football

  • Brad Smith

    I like the 12-team playoff model. It could provide access for all conference champions, and truly give the top four rated teams (with a preference for conference champions) a true advantage – a Round 1 Bye and a Round 2 home game. Within the structure of the CFP, the regular season and conference championships would hold tremendous weight – thus, enhancing the value, and the excitement, of the regular season. And this value and excitement would translate across all 10 conference races and the various division races.

    Likewise, limiting the CFP field to only TWO at large teams would similarly enhance the value and excitement of the regular season. Two non-champ teams would be rightfully rewarded for exceptional seasons – but that at large selection possibilities would not tend to undermine the conference and divisional races.

    Here is what 2013 could have been!! (simply presuming higher seed wins, for sake of argument)

    ROUND 1

    Friday, December 13
    (9)Fresno St.(MWC) at (8)UCF (AAC), at Orlando, Florida, at 6pm ET
    (11)Bowling Green(MAC) at (6)Baylor(Big 12), at Waco, Texas, at 9:30pm ET

    Saturday, December 14
    (10)Rice(C-USA) at (7) Ohio St.(at large), at Columbus, Ohio, at 3pm ET
    (12)Louisiana-Lafayette(Sun Belt) at (5)Stanford(PAC 12), at Palo Alto, California, at 7pm ET

    BYEs: (1)Florida St.(ACC), (2)Auburn(SEC), (3)Alabama(at large), (4) Michigan St.(B1G)

    ROUND 2, Quarterfinals

    Friday, December 20, at 8pm ET
    (7)Ohio St. at (2)Auburn, at Auburn, Alabama

    Saturday, December 21
    (6)Baylor at (3)Alabama, at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at 1pm ET
    (8)UCF at (1)Florida St., at Tallahassee, Florida at 6pm ET

    Monday, December 23 at 8pm ET
    (5)Stanford at (4)Michigan St., at E. Lansing, Michigan

    SEMI-FINALS – January 1, 2014

    Rose Bowl: (2)Auburn v. (3)Alabama, at Pasadena, California, 4pm ET
    Sugar Bowl: (1)Florida St. v. (4)Michigan St., at New Orleans, Louisiana, 8pm ET

    CHAMPIONSHIP, January 10, 2014 at 8pm ET

    (1)Florida St. v. (2)Auburn, at Arlington, Texas

    Also, note that the college football power brokers could easily figure a way to incorporate the several CFP rotational bowl games for the early round CFP participants or other invitees that do not advance to the semi-finals. Likewise, ALL the other bowl games, from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl to the Sun Bowl to the Capital One Bowl would still be played and unaffected by the CFP.

    • Daniel D Zillmer

      That’s a heck of a model there. Very cool, very interesting. I would much rather take that 12-team playoff over the 4. I like that CFB is moving to a playoff but I think it’s naturally going to move to a playoff with more teams. This is pretty well thought out, nice.

  • Brad Smith

    Alternatively, you could have the lowest conference champions and the two at large teams participate in Round 1, similar to the First Four of the NCAA basketball tournament. With that scenario, here’s what 2013 could have been!! (again, presuming higher seed wins, for sake of argument)

    ROUND 1

    Friday, December 13
    8-Seed game: (12)Louisiana-Lafayette at (11)Bowling Green, at Bowling Green, Ohio, at 6pm ET
    6-seed game: (8)UCF at (6)Baylor(Big 12), at Waco, Texas, at 9:30pm ET

    Saturday, December 14
    5-seed game (At Large game): (7)Ohio St. at (5)Alabama, at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at 3pm ET
    7-seed game: (10)Rice(C-USA) at (9)Fresno St.(MWC), at Fresno, California, at 8pm ET

    BYEs: (1)Florida St.(ACC), (2)Auburn(SEC), (3)Michigan St.(B1G), (4)Stanford(PAC 12)

    ROUND 2, Quarterfinals

    Friday, December 20, at 8pm ET
    (7)Fresno St. at (2)Auburn, at Auburn, Alabama

    Saturday, December 21
    (6)Baylor at (3)Michigan St. at E. Lansing, Michigan, at 1pm ET
    (8)Bowling Green at (1)Florida St., at Tallahassee, Florida at 6pm ET

    Monday, December 23 at 8pm ET
    (5)Alabama at (4)Stanford, at Palo Alto, California

    SEMI-FINALS – January 1, 2014

    Rose Bowl: (2)Auburn v. (3)Michigan St., at Pasadena, California, 4pm ET
    Sugar Bowl: (1)Florida St. v. (4)Stanford, at New Orleans, Louisiana, 8pm ET

    CHAMPIONSHIP, January 10, 2014 at 8pm ET

    (1)Florida St. v. (2)Auburn, at Arlington, Texas

    I actually like the Sun Belt-MAC and MWC-C-USA type matchups and the at large duke out in Round 1. This means that the Sun Belt or MAC and MWC or C-USA are still playing in Round 2 (albeit on the road at the #1 and #2 seeds, but still). Also, a potential unintended consequence is the semi-final matchup between the #1 team and the #1 at large. For instance, Alabama and Florida St. may have met in the semi-finals, where, in reality, the selection committee might have selected Alabama as the #3 seed (even despite their lack of a conference championship). Obviously, Alabama’s road to the semi-final matchup would likely be much more difficult that Florida State’s road (Ohio St. and then on the road at Stanford versus hosting Bowling Green in Tallahassee), but still – the Seminoles’ road to the championship game might have been easier facing Michigan St. instead of Alabama.