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Poll suggests College Football Playoff expansion possible sooner than expected

College Football Playoff Announces The College Football Playoff Selection Committee - News Conference Getty Images

There are no plans to expand the newborn College Football Playoff right now, but at some point in time it is likely the field will be expanded because that is what happens in sports. Baseball expanded its postseason twice since the 1994 strike and the NCAA basketball tournament has expanded from 64 up to 68 in recent years. A four-team college football playoff format always seemed like the first step in a larger format that would take time to develop.

A poll of athletic directors conducted by CBSSports.com suggests there is a popular belief the four-team playoff field will be expanded before the current contract for the College Football Playoff runs its 12-year course. Of the 35 athletic directors polled, 27 replied to CBS Sports. More than half of the respondents say the playoff field is likely to grow within the next ten years.

The reasons for expansion are generally pretty simple. Allowing more access to the postseason format is one thing, but increased revenue potential is a close second. Those in favor of a playoff format for years have designed various models that would include anywhere between eight and 16 teams. Every other level of football manages to structure a formidable playoff system, so it is possible to make an expanded playoff model a reality.

Not everybody is in favor of the playoff model though. Those who value the importance of the regular season say a playoff will devalue the regular season. Opening the playoffs to more teams could do more to bring the importance of regular season success down as well, as there could be a larger margin for error for top programs.

Of course, nobody even knows how successful this new four-team playoff model will be until we see it play out. Holding off on any rash decisions is one of the biggest reasons to hold off on any form of expansion talk for now. We are entering a new era and it may now be too late to revert back to the standard bowl system. If there are any changes in the future, it will be expansion.

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14 Responses to “Poll suggests College Football Playoff expansion possible sooner than expected”
  1. rolltide510 says: Apr 29, 2014 11:37 AM

    College football was pretty fun while it lasted.

  2. spreadthecheese says: Apr 29, 2014 12:22 PM

    @rolltide510

    Are you crazy? An expanded playoffs of 8 to 16 teams would be a blast and a cash cow. You’d get a chance to see matchups that never happen. Could you imagine the ratings if, say, Texas rolled into Tuscaloosa for a playoff game? It would be the most watched event outside of the Super Bowl.

  3. rolltide510 says: Apr 29, 2014 12:57 PM

    Right. The Tide would be ready for that game because we’ll have rested all the starters in a meaningless loss to LA Tech the week before. You know, NFL style.

    All CFB needed was a +1 to the BCS system. This idea that championships are “mythical” if there’s not a gigantic postseason where 8 win teams get a shot at glory.

    I don’t own a TV network so ratings aren’t really what drives me.

  4. sweepthleg says: Apr 29, 2014 1:15 PM

    Of course it’s going to expand it’s the next step towards NFL Minor League.

    Steps already taken place
    1. College Football moves to a Playoff Format
    2. College Players begin to Unionize
    3. Major Conferences get more autonomy away from the NCAA

    The next steps will be to pay the players and expand the playoffs. The power conferences that contain all the teams with realistic shots at winning a National Championship will form up into a new division within the next 5 years.

    The real questions are how long will this new form of college football hold on to the trappings of the College Football traditions from the past 100 plus years? Will it still require players to be “student-athletes”, and have complete school affiliation? And will the other 60 – 70 teams in the current bowl subdivision that will most likely be left out of the new upper tier of College Football stay in the same model or move to an Ivy League type model where they players are true Student-Athletes?

    It’s sad to see this transformation because we are losing at lot of what makes college football great, but seeing truly competitive teams match up every week will be exciting.

  5. drummerhoff says: Apr 29, 2014 1:25 PM

    The urge to expand the playoff will be based on the performance of the 3 & 4 seeds. When a 3 or 4 wins, we’ll see the field increase… until then, no serious discussion is needed.

  6. ajarkoski says: Apr 29, 2014 3:07 PM

    Some of the people who fear expanded playoffs are other sports (including NFL, others) who fear a longer and more attractive competition for revenue. Oh, and teams like Alabama who have enjoyed most favorite status among a voting process where you are voted on image instead of playing it on the field. All they had to do in the past is win one game. How many times have the favorites been beaten in playoffs by upsets? There is nothing but good things here and you have to allow for other teams to get a piece of the pie and not those riding their reputations like low tide.

  7. coolhorn46 says: Apr 29, 2014 3:14 PM

    Anybody who thinks the playoffs will stay at four teams probably also believes that there’s a yellow brick road out there someplace.

    Leave it at four and you’re leaving a pile of money under the table. Nobody except those who live out there where the buses don’t run would think to do that. Next stop, and in much less than ten years, an eight team playoff. They’ll stay at that for a while, then eventually expand to sixteen teams, assuming the networks and advertisers make it worthwhile.

    It’s not goodbye to college football…it’s hellloooo bank account.

  8. barkleyblows says: Apr 29, 2014 3:16 PM

    Good lets expand it to every college football team! Let’s make it fair for everybody , right?

    Looks like college football is going to be ruined just like college basketball was.

  9. houndofthebaskervols says: Apr 29, 2014 6:04 PM

    You want to go to 16 teams, no problem…but you better figure out how to pay these kids first.

  10. thefiesty1 says: Apr 29, 2014 6:13 PM

    Expand it NEXT YEAR. Use the ridiculous bowl system as a true playoff.

  11. andynormile says: Apr 29, 2014 6:28 PM

    How about an 8 team playoff, consisting of the 5 conference champions from the power conferences, the best ranked college from the non power conferences, and 2 wildcard teams as chosen by a selection panel.

  12. dcroz says: Apr 29, 2014 7:51 PM

    Yes, FCS has a playoff with 20 teams involved, but from what I understand, most of the coaches hate it and it is a big money loser for the schools involved. Tons of money can be made on a four-team playoff in the FBS/FCS Super/BCS/Division I-A/Whatever The Hell We’re Going To Call It Now but getting into eight or even sixteen teams could be more problematic. The travel costs would be huge for the two teams that make the final unless they both have home-field-advantage for at least the first two rounds and you increase the likelihood of a game like Kansas State versus Boise State, which would be lucky to sell 30,000 tickets if it were played at a neutral-site semifinal or the national final. Plus you get into the teams in the final playing 16 or 17 games over the course of the season, which is NFL-esque; grown men who are paid to practice and condition themselves as much as they want day in and day out can handle it, but 18- to 22-year-olds who are still trying to figure out which end of the razor to hold and are limited to 20 hours of practice per week by NCAA rules would have a much harder time of it. Let’s see how four teams works out first before deciding to expand this thing.

  13. tampabayirish says: Apr 29, 2014 11:48 PM

    I think an eight team playoff with the first round to be played on campus of four highest seeds. I would love to see an SEC or ACC school invited to play a first round playoff “snow globe” game in Ann Arbor, SouthBend or Madison in early December. That would be must see TV. Put away those visors coaches. Get yourself a hockey toque. That will also serve as a little payback for all those yankee schools over the years who have played games in Dixie with temps in the 80s with high humidity (pass the Gatorade) when it was 40 or more degrees cooler back up north on their campus. The whole point of the regular college season will become to secure enough wins against high quality competition to secure an invitation to the 8 team college football playoff invitational. I’ll take that.

  14. dkhhuey says: Apr 30, 2014 12:09 AM

    Yes – let’s just forgo the entire season and get it to a 164 team playoff. They are not satisfied until they officially kill college football.

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