College Football Playoffs Should Expand to 12 Teams


Graphic by Catherine Corbin

The hypothetical 2022 College Football Playoffs would be composed of 12 total teams with the top four teams getting a bye, automatically making the quarterfinals. Ohio State would have a chance to rematch rivals Michigan in the quarterfinals, along with Notre Dame rematching Cinnainti.

College football has become one of the most watched sports in America, with 22 million people watching the College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2022 between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia. 

Nonetheless, the College Football Playoffs (CFP) only consists of the top four teams in the nation, resulting in a total of three playoff games played. In comparison, the National Football League (NFL) has approximately 12 playoff games a year. 

Therefore, the CFP should be expanded to allow 12 teams to enter instead of 4. Allowing 12 teams to enter the CFP would increase revenue for teams, as games would be more important than ever before. 

Fans would be more likely to attend games that mean something over a bowl game that doesn’t affect the national championship. More tickets would be purchased, resulting in more money for the football team. 

For instance, March Madness has over 60 teams enter the tournament each year. While having over 60 teams enter the CFP isn’t realistic, having at least 12 teams enter the CFP  would engage more viewers. 

In addition, increasing the CFP to 12 teams would result in fewer players opting out of their final college games. 

In 2021, four Ohio State players skipped the Rose Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft. Likewise, safety Kyle Hamilton and running back Kyren Williams from Notre Dame opted out of the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State. 

I can understand why these players would opt out of their final college football game, as their game has no relationship to the final. These players have been preparing for the NFL draft since they were young, so why would they risk it? 

Some might argue that allowing 12 teams to enter the playoffs would be useless because lower-ranked teams will just get blown out. 

I can see how many would think that because in reality, blowouts do happen often. For instance, in the semi-finals this year Alabama blew out Cincinnati 27-6 and Georgia blew out Michigan 34-11.  

 Therefore blowouts are already happening in the CFP as some teams are just naturally better. 

Nonetheless, if 12 teams were allowed this year, Ohio State would have played Utah, and Oklahoma State would have played Notre Dame in the playoffs. Both of those games were intense and ended with less than a five-point difference. 

Then, both Ohio State and Notre Dame could look for comebacks from their previous losses this year. Ohio State could have played rivals Michigan in the quarterfinals, and Notre Dame would’ve faced Cincinnati. I can assure you that these games wouldn’t have been boring. 

In addition, college football players would get greater exposure to high-intensity games, as many BIG-10 and PAC-12 players never get to see a playoff game. 

Increasing the CFP to 12 teams instead of 4 would benefit the whole college football industry, as maybe one day they will be able to compete for attention with the NFL.