The Future of the College Football Playoff



“The Big House,” Michigan University’s football stadium, one of the powerhouses of college football (Photo/Unsplash)

Cyril Pandya, Print Sports Editor

The College Football Playoff format has been a topic of heated discussion lately, with many analysts and fans calling for the number of teams to be expanded from four to twelve to increase competition. Last month, to the delight of many, the Playoff Committee members agreed to implement a twelve team playoff with hopes of including it for the 2024 season. The goal of expansion is to avoid lopsided championship games such as this seasons’ 65-7 blowout win for the Georgia Bulldogs over Texas Christian University.

However, there are still many people out there with doubts on if an expanded playoff is the right move for college football. Junior Sam Salguero believes that even with an expanded playoff, “The same four teams will make it to the semifinals every year by pure dominance. Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and maybe a few others are just so much better than every other team.” Dominance from top tier programs is, and always will be, a big part of college football, but the influence of “name, image, and license” (NIL) deals has taken football supremacy to another level. NIL deals are a way for college athletes to earn money, which was previously prohibited.In many ways, this benefits college football programs; but the value of NIL has spread to recruiting, with some highly scouted high school recruits getting paid by colleges to attend their schools. In this new age of college football, money certainly talks, and the schools with the most resources are often the schools getting top ten votes in the AP Poll. Essentially, in the realm of college football, the rich get richer. 

With this in mind, a twelve team playoff could produce similar lopsided results when a potentially twelve-seeded Tulane with zero five-star recruits play the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide, whose whole starting lineup is composed of some of the best high school players in the country. As discouraging as this may sound, there are always two sides to one coin. Junior Tom Poljevka, believes that “a twelve team playoff truly establishes who the best teams are.” Certainly, the road to be a champion in a twelve team playoff is not easy, and even if Alabama or Georgia are crowned as Champs once again, at least we know that they were, in fact, the best team. Junior Max Glasgold is also on board with expanded playoffs: “It makes the playoffs diverse and fun. TCU was America’s team because of how unlikely their championship run was; a twelve team playoff gives us more Cinderella-story type teams.” Whether you want, or don’t want, a twelve team playoff, one thing is for certain: college football is changing, for better or for worse.