The way the current College Football playoff is set up, it’s not really feasible for a mid-major school or anyone outside a Power 5 Conference — excluding Notre Dame — to have a shot at making it.
Now the NCAA is preparing to invite everyone much like when Oprah announced on her TV show that everyone in her studio audience was getting a car.
That’s where college football is heading with the soon-to-be-proposed and soon-to-be-approved 12-team playoff. That is definitely a good thing.
The days of the South Eastern Conference champion, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference champion and the supposed top remaining team left doing battle in a four-way will soon be over.
If anything, the Pac-12 Conference should be the happiest because they haven’t produced a champion that has even been remotely considered an upper echelon team worthy of the Final Four, in recent years.
Under the new format, the top four seeds will all get first round byes, which will leave first round matchups of 12 vs. 5, 11 vs. 6, 10 vs. and 9 vs. 8 — with the higher ranked team hosting.
Going off of last season’s rankings, that would’ve led to first round match-ups of Coastal Carolina visiting Notre Dame, Indiana at Texas A&M, Iowa State at Florida and Georgia at Cincinnati.
You’re telling me you wouldn’t have wanted to see those match-ups?
All of the winners would have to go on the road and be an underdog the following week, but they have a shot.
That’s what the current four-team format doesn’t give.
If you aren’t Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State or Oklahoma, there isn’t much wiggle room.
No Group of 5 — teams outside the Power 5 conferences SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12 — has sniffed the four-team playoff. Now there is a chance.
Part of what makes college sports so exciting is the match-ups. While teams such as Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson have grown superior, even they would benefit from the playoff expanding.
If a highly-ranked team were to slip up in non-conference and once in conference play, they would still have a chance.
Take Clemson this upcoming season. The Tigers open the season against Georgia in a neutral site game. Let’s say Clemson were to fall and shockingly drop a game early in ACC play but recovered to still win the ACC.
Clemson is cracking the top-12 and will still have a chance to win the National title, the top-four not so much.
Teams like Boise State, UCF, Coastal Carolina and BYU now have thoughts of competing for a national title. Reaching the top-four hasn’t happened for a Group of 5 team yet and won’t happen.
Making the top-12 will assuredly happen, and just imagine the match-ups and possible upsets that loom.
The top-four in college football as currently constructed is nothing more than the Good Ole Boys network and a top notch colleague getting together and slugging it out.
The change isn’t going to happen this season or the next, but according to Brett McMurphy of the Stadium Network, it should happen after the 2023 season.
This new playoff format will also change Bowl games and their structure. Let’s see play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl or be the No. 12 or No. 11 seed and compete for a national title? That answer is obvious.
If you are selected to be in the top-12, you are there for a reason.
It’s the six highest-ranked conference champions and the sixth highest-ranked teams make it. Sorry Notre Dame, but independent teams don’t get a first round bye under the new format. College Football has bent over backwards for the Fightin’ Irish for over 100 years and officially they won’t have to hear people gripe about them never — excluding last year’s ACC title game — playing that extra game since they would have to do so in the playoffs.
Here’s to the 12-team playoff; it’ll be insane, crazy and every other spots adjective you want. Most of all the 12-team playoff is change and change in the right direction for all of those involved.