An Underage Sports Journal For Students of the Game

Alex Goldberg

Alex Goldberg

College Football Playoff Expansion: What’s the Argument?

This past September, the College Football Playoff board of managers unanimously voted to expand the College Football Playoffs (CFP) from 4 teams to 12 teams starting in 2026. The 12 teams will consist of the six highest-ranked conference champions and six at-large teams. The top four seeds in the 2026 playoffs will receive first-round byes.

Here’s the argument for both sides:

Anti-Expansion: The best team is almost certainly a top 4 team. In College Football, the difference between the #1 team in the country and the #12 teams in the nation is huge. 

Since expansion from two 2 teams to 4 teams in 2015, there has been a blowout in at least one game of every CFP. The largest defeat in a CFP game was 38 points when No. 2 Alabama defeated No. 3 Michigan State 38-0 in 2016. In every single CFP, there has been a game where a team has lost by at least 16 points. Most recently in 2021, No. 1 Alabama defeated No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6. 

The stats show that in College Football, there is often a massive talent gap between teams, so, in determining the best team, you don’t need more than four teams.


First off, it’s necessary to acknowledge a primary reason the CFP Board wanted to expand: Money. More big games = More money. 

With the expansion, eight more teams have a chance at a championship. Hundreds more players and coaches and hundreds of thousands of fans. This allows more fanbases to get involved later in the season. 

Additionally, we can avoid a situation in which a team goes undefeated and misses the CFP due to a lack of difficult opponents. 

Overall, expanding in CFP gives teams more opportunities to make magic happen.