For years, those in charge of college football were vehemently against a playoff to determine a national champion. Then after finally realizing that everyone involved would make millions, a four-team playoff was established. When the College Football Playoff was formed, it was only a matter of time before it expanded from the four-team format to include more teams.
While there has been expansion talk for a while, Yahoo Sports reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased discussion of expanding the playoff. That’s not a surprise, the pandemic has caused a financial strain on everyone so expanding the playoff is probably the easiest way to recoup lots of money back.
It’s important to note that nothing is set in stone. Executive director Bill Hancock noted that expansion is not something that will immediately be decided but didn’t dismiss the idea.
Let’s be for real, pandemic or not, the College Football Playoff was going to expand at some point. Like any sport looking to expand their postseason, the more postseason games equals more ticket and TV revenue and that’s what organizers are looking for, even if that causes the regular season to be watered down.
With the realization that the playoff is expanding, by how much will the NCAA and the CFP committee expand the tournament? Eight teams is the obvious option but if it’s possible, the powers that be may just blow past eight and go with a 12 or 16-team playoff. Estimates have that an eight team playoff would result in an additional $887 million/year according to Navigate’s Matt Balvanz, and $1.45 billion/year for a tournament with 16 teams. I’m not saying 16 teams is a great idea but the word “billion” sounds better than the word “million” for those in charge and that’s why the vast majority of athletic directors (88 percent) want an expanded playoff.
Honestly, whatever number that’s decided, just keep it at that. If college football leaders want eight teams but then decide a few years later that they want 16, then just make it 16 teams. It’s going to make the regular season borderline meaningless for the top teams but thinking like an executive, it’ll be better for them than it will be for the fans.
Obviously, there are a lot of circumstances that would need to be figured out (TV contract, bowl schedule, etc.) before including more teams but once that’s taken care of, more teams are going to be included. It’s just a matter of time.