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8 Team College Football Playoff

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8 Team College Football Playoff: Conference Champion Model

Handing out some automatic bids.

We have long been proponents of the 8 team College Football Playoff. Time to bang the drum again as the 2017 season approaches, and update it for the 2018 season.

No championship at all was blah. Two teams was meh. Four teams is better. Eight teams seems like the perfect amount of College Football Playoff teams.

In this new exercise, we designed a new bracket that gives different conferences an opportunity. It makes conference championships important, but creates a way for others to get in if they don’t win their conference. This bracket also gives the Group of Five schools a piece of the pie, albeit a small one.

8 Team College Football Playoff: Format

The five champions of Power Five conferences all get automatic bids. Next, the Group of Five conference champion with the highest ranking gets a bid. Finally, the two highest-ranked non-champions in the CFP poll qualify. From there, the eight participants would seed according to their College Football Playoff ranking.

8 Team College Football Playoff: 2018 Example

Again, with Georgia and Ohio State feeling the sharp pain in their backsides from being left behind like in those books, the drumbeat for an 8 team College Football Playoff is going to get louder. Now, there were reasons they did not make the four-team playoff, but that’s neither here nor there.

First, you have to select your eight teams.

2019 College Football Playoff -- 8 Team College Football Playoff Teams

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Washington won their conferences. The regular-season results just about matched the title games, so no discrepancy there.

Central Florida was the top team again in the Group of Five.

Notre Dame and Georgia take the at-large bids. The Irish’s issue with an 8-team CFP in this model would be clear: they only have two slots available to them while everyone else, technically, has three. They could remedy this by joining a conference, unless their pride gets in the way.

2018 Seeds List

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC auto bid)
2. Clemson Tigers (ACC auto bid)
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (at-large)
4. Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 auto bid)
5. Georgia Bulldogs (at-large)
6. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten auto bid)
7. UCF Knights (Best GO5 champion auto bid)
8. Washington Huskies (Pac-12 auto bid)

The seeds correspond to their position in the final College Football Playoff poll. UCF is ranked ahead of Washington, therefore the Knights are seventh and the Huskies are eighth.

2018 Bracket

2019 College Football Playoff - 8 Team College Football Playoff Bracket

First-round games should be hosted by the top team; no need for neutral sites that early, and it provides an incentive to want to get into the top four. National semifinals will be the tied-in bowls for the year.

There will always be complaining, but this set of eight teams should keep the peasants entertained. For now.

8 Team College Football Playoff: 2016 Example

In 2016, such an 8 team College Football Playoff field would have looked like this:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC)
2. Clemson Tigers (ACC)
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (at-large)
4. Washington Huskies (Pac-12)
5. Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten)
6. Michigan Wolverines (at-large)
7. Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12)
8. Western Michigan Broncos (GO5)

This is the bracket that results:

8 Team College Football Playoff 2016

Ohio State-Michigan as a first-round playoff game? You can sign some people up for that one right now. In the other matchups, it’s Alabama-Western Michigan, Clemson-Oklahoma, and Washington-Penn State. There’s not a bad game in the lot, except that Western Michigan probably would have gotten housed. At least in this system, the Group of Five gets a guaranteed seat at the table.

8 Team College Football Playoff: 2017

All we have right now is an AP preseason poll that will, most likely, be discredited by the end of September. Work with what you’ve got, I always say. Assuming the AP poll were the CFP poll, we’d start the season with a prospective seed list of this:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC)
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)
3. Florida State Seminoles (ACC)
4. USC Trojans (Pac-12)
5. Clemson Tigers (at-large)
6. Penn State Nittany Lions (at-large)
7. Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12)
8. South Florida Bulls (GO5)

8 Team College Football Playoff 2017

Again, you can almost feel bad for the Group of Five team Alabama is going to violate. This is still a ranked team they’re playing, by the way. All the other contests look entertaining, and they set up some excellent second-round games as well. For example, you could get an Alabama-USC or Alabama-Clemson rematch. Further, Ohio State might see Penn State or FSU. Not a bad game in the lot.

8 Team College Football Playoff: One Game Too Many?

If the eight-team playoff doesn’t happen, it just might be due to too many games. Take Alabama, for example. 12 regular season games, the SEC championship game, and then three playoff games if they go all the way. That’s sixteen games total, or an NFL regular season.

There are coaches out there who don’t want their teams playing 14-15 games as it is. Sixteen games might be too much to handle, especially given the added focus on player health and safety. It’s not just potentially overtaxing, but there is still the academic component. This means a longer football season for some, and ostensibly more time out of class. Depending on what you think of some of the schools above, however, it’s debatable.

Money is a key factor, as it always is. If schools and leagues can make cash off the extra playoff round, an 8 team College Football Playoff is on the table. Yet, it’s not that simple. We can sit here from our desks and say what a good idea it is, but politics behind the scenes may prevent it. To us, it’s just more football, but to the teams, it could be much more than that.

For reality, check out the College Football Playoff picture.

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  1. Pingback: 2017 MAC Football Predictions: Who Wins? - The Bracket Yard

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