A 14-team College Football Playoff is a terrible idea

Above anything else, the College Football Playoff committee has shown that they can do one thing really well, and that’s hit themselves in the face at any given opportunity.

Earlier this week, Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger reported that the CFP committee was exploring the possibility of expanding the playoff to 14 teams.

The NCAA adopted the four team playoff in 2014 after complaints that the chance to play for the national title wasn’t open enough. After ten years of the four team playoff, the committee decided to expand to 12 teams entering the 2024 season.

This is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons, but the first of them is simple: expansion to 14 teams more or less makes the regular season meaningless. The conference championship games then don’t mean as much because regardless of if you win or lose, there’s still a chance that both teams end up making the playoff anyway. With the way the auto-bids are given out, it really sounds like this is going to be the Big Ten/SEC Invitational, with everyone else hoping to just get a team in. The thing that makes the college football regular season so special is that almost every game matters. You can’t drop more than maybe two games within the conference or you won’t be making the playoff. The expansion to 14 keeps that margin for error wide open for teams like Ole Miss from last year, the third best team in the SEC can get into the playoff even though they dropped a few games and didn’t even play in the SEC championship game.

Expansion of the CFP always felt a bit risky even with 12 teams, because then we get into the business of at-large bids and it gets far too out of control at 14 teams. It just doesn’t make sense for the CFP to expand to 14 without even testing and seeing if 12 teams works. The simple truth is that there probably aren’t 14 teams that deserve to play for the national championship. With limited spots available in four or even eight team playoffs, it still keeps the meaningfulness of the regular season. Expanding to 12 teams is going to change the fabric of the sport. 14 teams is going to rip it apart entirely.

At the end of this road, the whole reason for the potential expansion of the playoff is this: the CFP wants to make more money by extending their television event out even more to rake in the dough. It’s an overextension by the people who don’t have to play the games in order to make more money … that won’t go to the people who have to play more games.

The playoff is a TV event, drawing millions of viewers every week to see the same rankings and then going even more in depth with to this point three playoff games. Expand that out to 14 teams and you can see the moneybags start to appear in the committee’s eyes like a Looney Tunes character. It’s the unfortunate, yet inevitable conclusion that the people in power of the NCAA were always going to come to. There’s too much money in this cash cow to not expand in their minds, and the fact that it was even brought up feels more like this is a dangerous omen more than a hair-brained possibility.

Make no mistake, though: this only serves to line the pockets of the people in power, and going for that over any logic or reason is incredibly stupid.

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