Expand the college football playoffs to 8 teams and use the BCS ranking system

Cheryl Gerber | The AP

There’s currently talk in college football circles about expanding the college football field to eight teams. There are five Power 5 conferences and with only a four team playoff, there’s bound to be one conference each year left out.

Last year Florida State was undefeated and Oregon, Ohio State, Alabama, TCU, & Baylor all only had one loss and were trying to get the other three spots. When Baylor & TCU were left out it left a bad taste in their mouth because the ten team Big 12 conference doesn’t have conference championship game and they felt like they were penalized for not having a title game.

Concerns

If the peopleĀ in charge of college football decide to expand the playoff field to eight teams, how would it look and be achieved? Many people are rightly concerned that if each Power 5 conference is guaranteed a playoff spot to their respective conference champions, that we may end up with a 7-5 team in the playoffs if they pull off an upset in their conference championship game.

Many people are rightly concerned that this would dilute the importance of the regular season. Right now every college team feels the pressure to win every game on their schedule and there’s a fear that an expanded field change this.

An Idea

Bring back the BCS. Yes, that BCS. No, I don’t mean the BCS bowl system but the BCS ranking system. Why do we need some committee deciding the best teams? Even though people frequently complained about the BCS championship game matchup, the actual ranking system was a pretty good consensus on where each team ranked.

We could use the BCS ranking system to take the top 7 teams, regardless of conference, plus one mid-major (Group of 5) team to seed the playoffs. According to Reddit user Seadondo’s estimates, last season’s BCS rankings (before bowls) would’ve looked like this:

  1. Alabama (12-1)
  2. Florida State (13-0)
  3. Oregon (12-1)
  4. Ohio State (12-1)
  5. TCU (11-1)
  6. Baylor (11-1)
  7. Mississippi State (10-2)
  8. Boise State (11-2) – Top Group of Five school, ranked #20 and given 8th seed.

That’s every major conference represented plus Boise State given the 8th seed as the top Group of Five school. Also, the Big 12 gets a playoff spot in this scenario and isn’t penalized for not having a championship game.

Also under this scenario, no playoff spot would be guaranteed to any conference because you’re still taking the top 7 plus one mid-major. Finish in the top 7 and you’re in. In case one Power 5 conference is very mediocre and can’t place a single team in the top 7, they don’t get to send a team to the playoff. I would also add a rule that the Group of Five school would have to be ranked in the Top 25.

Final Thoughts

This is just an idea, one of many that may be a good potential solution. No matter what, people will still complain. Whether there’s no playoff, four teams, eight teams, or 64, teams will still find a way to complain when they get left out. There probably isn’t a way to keep every team happy. At the end of the day if you don’t go undefeated, just be thankful your team is even being considered for a playoff spot.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions on how to improve the college football playoff, feel free to leave a comment.