Envisioning a 12 Team College Football Playoff, Ranked From Least to Most Likely | GMTM
Gmtm Logo
SIGN UP
Gmtm Logo

Envisioning a 12 Team College Football Playoff, Ranked From Least to Most Likely

ByBryan Armetta

Published on Sat Nov 27 2021

|

4 min read

Envisioning a 12 Team College Football Playoff, Ranked From Least to Most Likely

College football has never been too concerned about parity. For years, the sport has seemed more concerned about protecting the best interests of blue-bloods, even if it means limiting opportunities for all other programs to prove themselves against elite competition.

The College Football Playoff's four-team bracket, first introduced in the 2014-15 season, was supposed to help solve that. Instead, it opened up even more debate over keeping out unbeaten Group of 5 schools, such as UCF in 2017 and Cincinnati in 2020. With news of a potential playoff expansion to twelve teams in the near future, a new question was inevitably raised: will the playoff committee create yet another power structure designed to protect the few or will they finally allow for equal representation in the CFP?

It remains to be seen how the committee will choose to shape the future of college football, and which bracket structures they'll deem acceptable. With numerous alternative options still being pitched and nothing confirmed just yet, the logistics of a twelve-team postseason format are still uncertain.

*Rankings based on Nov. 23rd CFP rankings

The Half n' Half Bracket (0.0001

chance)

Let's get wild, shall we? Nothing would make college football Twitter happier than a playoff ensuring everyone gets an equal shot. So why not ensure an even number of Power 5 and Group of 5 teams by taking the six highest ranked in each category? In this hypothetical, the Group of 5 bracket winner would meet the Power 5 winner in the National Championship game.

Truthfully, there are better chances of an asteroid hitting Earth before the end of this sentence than the notoriously stubborn CFP committee ever giving conferences like the American and Mountain West a close-to-50 percent chance of making the playoffs. While it would be fun to think about, a quick look at a potential bracket this season shows the obvious flaws in such a concept:

1. Georgia 2. Ohio St. 3. Alabama 4. Michigan 5. Notre Dame 6. Oklahoma St.

  1. Cincinnati 2. BYU 3. San Diego St. 4. UTSA 5. Houston 6. Louisiana

The Group of Two Bracket (3

chance)

So maybe the Group of 5 will never be given truly equal opportunity. That doesn't mean the committee can't carve out a bit of space for them.

In this bracket proposal, the seven highest-ranking conference champions are given an auto-bid, ensuring two come from the Group of Five. The rest of the bracket would then be made up of the highest ranking non-conference winners.

Unlike a six conference champions proposal (more on that in a bit), the Group of Two bracket strikes a balance between Power 5 dominance and increased opportunity for smaller programs. However, in most years, this model would lead to major blowouts in the first round of the playoffs, something the CFP committee should look to avoid at all costs. Additionally, it's hard to see 1/6th of the field guaranteed to the Group of Five, regardless of ranking. Here is what it would look like this year:

  1. Georgia and 2. Ohio St. on bye

12. San Diego St. at 3. Alabama, 11. Oregon at 4. Cincinnati, 10. Oklahoma at 5. Michigan, 9. Ole Miss at 6. Notre Dame, 8. Baylor at 7. Oklahoma St.

The Conference Runner-Up Bracket (7

)

Rather than auto-bids for just Power 5 conference champions, this bracket model would give guaranteed playoff spots to championship game runner-ups as well. The final two seeds would then be made up of the highest ranking teams left.

There are some elements to this setup that would be appealing for the committee. They wouldn't need any Group of 5 representation and could conceivably have four representatives from a single conference (S-E-C! S-E-C!).

With that being said, the downside here is immense. Imagine if this year's playoff race included knowing both Wake Forest and Pittsburgh would be going toe-to-toe with Georgia and OSU. Additionally, it may be detrimental for the Big 10 and SEC, since their superiority over the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 would go largely unrewarded in postseason selections.

  1. Georgia and 2. Ohio St. on bye

12. Utah at 3. Alabama, 11. Wake Forest at 4. Cincinnati, 10. Pittsburgh at 5. Michigan, 9. Oregon at 6. Notre Dame, 8. Oklahoma at 7.Oklahoma St.

The Power 6 Bracket (35

chance)

This idea, courtesy of The Alliance, proposes that all Power 5 conference champions and the highest-ranked Group of 5 winner receive automatic bids into the CFP. The remaining six spots would then be determined by the highest ranked remaining teams.

Although this model is a good one for the committee, since it gives minimal access to non-Power 5 members, it also could create just as much uproar as the current system. Imagining a world in which a three-loss Pac-12 or Big 12 winner gets in could lead to lopsided matchups. Additionally, the incentive to schedule strong out-of-conference games would be diminished for many schools, since simply dominating your conference, however weak it may be, is more than enough to get into the postseason. Here is how it would shake out this year:

  1. Georgia and 2. Ohio St. on bye

12. Pittsburgh at 3. Alabama, 11. Oregon at 4. Cincinnati, 10. Oklahoma at 5. Michigan, 9 Ole Miss at 6. Notre Dame, 8. Baylor at 7. Oklahoma St.

The Ranked Order Bracket (55

chance)

The last and most likely twelve-team bracket to be adopted by the committee is also the most boring. Simply put, ranking the best teams in the playoff should guarantee the best mix of competitiveness and parity while removing any frills that could keep out more deserving teams.

A skeptical Group of 5 fan may question the extent in which the Power 5 would dominate the bracket. Since its first season in 2014, the CFP has had just four teams ranked in the top twelve by the end of the season. However, attitudes may be changing. Those Group of 5 rankings were all within the past five years, and last year's duo of Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina would have made the cut. While it's fair to wonder how the committee's process may shift after a postseason expansion, there is some hope that smaller schools can be recognized under such a system.

Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

RELATED ARTICLES
College Football: Five Best Non-Conference Games Of 2022

College Football: Five Best Non-Conference Games Of 2022

The end of the college football season is a bittersweet time for fans across the nation. Despite an exciting year and a new national champion, Georgia's victory over Alabama ensures a wait of over...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun May 15 2022
Field Hockey: What Is It And How To Start Playing

Field Hockey: What Is It And How To Start Playing

Field Hockey is a sport that combines ice hockey with soccer to create an exciting and intense sport filled with technique, cooperation, and determination. Learning the essential parts of field...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Jun 26 2022
Five Benefits Of Playing Sports At A Division-III College

Five Benefits Of Playing Sports At A Division-III College

With limited exposure to most casual sports fans and stadiums that are smaller than some Texas high schools, Division-III sports have long been thought of as a third tier of college athletics. But,...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Jun 26 2022
How Parents Can Help You Get Recruited To Play College Football

How Parents Can Help You Get Recruited To Play College Football

While performance and execution are a fundamental necessity for the child when it comes to getting recruited to play football at both a high school and college level, it is not the only way to get...

ByDJ Cadden | Fri Jun 17 2022
Is USC Football Finally Back? Recapping Lincoln Riley's First Spring As Trojans Head Coach

Is USC Football Finally Back? Recapping Lincoln Riley's First Spring As Trojans Head Coach

We hear about 'culture changes' in college football all the time; one-season turnarounds ushered in by factors such as a new head coach or a star recruit. However, in this sport, success is fleeting....

ByBryan Armetta | Fri Jun 17 2022