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Should the NCAA Expand to a 16-Team College Football Playoff Format?


With bowl season upon us and the college football playoffs right around the corner, it’s an exciting time to be a college football fan. The year 2022 in particular has been a breath of fresh air, with both Michigan and Cincinnati shaking up the usual cast of characters and making it to the college football playoffs. While it’s nice to have two new schools enter a playoff format dominated by Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State, we can’t help but wonder how a 16-team college football playoff format would shake things up.


The Case for a 16-Team March Madness–Style College Football Playoff

The NCAA should expand to a 16-team playoff format in 2025, when the current four-team format expires. This format will not go against “tradition” and will be more beneficial to college football as a whole.


It Doesn’t Go Against Tradition

While detractors will argue that switching from a four-team playoff to a 16-team playoff system would go against tradition, we’d like to point out that the four-team college football playoff system we currently have isn’t exactly long-standing. The four-team college football playoff wasn’t established until 2014, so it hasn’t even been around for a full decade.


More Teams Compete for a Title

The current four-team college football playoff format is unfair to smaller schools and tends to favor the same six big programs. Since the four-team college football playoff was introduced in 2015, Alabama has made it seven out of eight times, Clemson has made it six out of eight times and Oklahoma and Ohio State University four out of eight times. While Clemson and Alabama have been on top of college football for most of the past eight years, the selection committee clearly has a bias, ranking the same few teams over smaller programs.


If we expand the playoffs to a 16-team format, smaller programs will have an opportunity to compete for a title that they otherwise wouldn’t get because they aren’t OSU. This will solve the issue of favoring worse teams that have a stronger strength of schedule over better teams that have a weaker strength of schedule. This is also the best way to make sure that the two best teams make it to the finals and we watch the best football possible.


More Like March Madness

What makes March Madness so exciting is that there is always a chance for an underdog to make some noise in the first round and possibly win it all. A 16-team college football playoff format would give smaller, underrated programs a chance to compete for a title and possibly win it all. Everyone loves a good underdog story, so it only makes sense that if a 16-seed upsets Alabama, more people are going to be invested in the next game.


In 2019, March Madness had almost double the viewership of the college football playoffs. This is partially due to burnout from watching Alabama and Clemson trade titles every other year and because only four teams are involved. While we don’t suggest going to 64 teams like March Madness, including 12 more schools into the playoffs will bring in 12 more fan bases following along and watching the games. The quickest way to increase viewership is to make the playoffs more appealing to a larger audience.


The other aspect of March Madness that keeps basketball fans and casual viewers hooked is bracketology. A 16-team playoff format lends itself perfectly to a March Madness–style bracket, which will help keep fans hooked long after their team has been eliminated.


Everyone Makes More Money

More Football = More Money. The equation is simple enough. When you already have a product that prints money for you, the best way to make even more money is to make more of that product. A 16-team college football format will literally make everyone money.


Adding two more college football games to the season will make schools more money from ticket sales, merch sales and national exposure. The host cities will make more money from ticket sales and fans injecting money into the economy. The NCAA would make more money by selling off more tv rights and adding in 12 more bowl games that some company out there will sponsor. Even the TV stations will make more money. Heck, we will make more money! You’re going to need a nice warm pair of Game Bibs to tailgate in the winter.


Most importantly, a 16-team playoff will make the players more money. More games means more opportunities for players to get national exposure and potentially increase their odds of getting drafted into the NFL. Also, with the new NIL rules, more football means more opportunity for players to make big plays and get ad deals and sponsorships.


What Would the 2022 College Football Playoffs Look Like With a 16-Team Format?



Whether your team is playing in a bowl game, has made it to the four-team college football playoff or would have made some noise in the hypothetical 16-team format, the best way to support your team on game day and at the tailgate is in a pair of Game Bibs!