A six- or eight-team format would allow for more Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 teams to compete in the playoff.

By Jenna West
December 12, 2018

The College Football Playoff is almost here, but several notable figures within college football are calling for an expanded playoff system with eight teams, according to a report by The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.

"Everyone has the same feeling; expansion is inevitable," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told The Athletic. “When you can do it, and I think we need to serve more people. I think four was the right way to get started. In my opinion, we need to take a look of adding more teams into the playoff, giving more opportunities."

Alvarez, who sat on the CFP's selection committee from 2014 to ’16, expressed his concern that the SEC is getting a regular spot in the playoff while other leagues spend multiple years on the outside looking in.

"I don’t know whether we’re serving all of our people now, when you have some leagues—our league (the Big Ten) as an example," Alvarez said. "Two years in a row, we don’t have anyone represented. The Big 12’s been the same way. The Pac-12’s been the same way."

The playoff began in 2015, and Alabama has been a participant each year. The Big Ten champion has been left out of the playoff for the past three seasons, while the Pac-12 has missed it in three of the last four.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the CFP, told The Athletic there have been no conversations yet about expanding the system. Hancock said the time for those talks could come toward the end of the CFP's 12-year contract with ESPN.

An expanded format would help address criticism the CFP committee has faced for leaving teams like UCF out of the Playoff. Alvarez and West Virginia president Gordon Gee told The Athletic that the Golden Knights should be considered by the committee.

UCF won its second American Athletic conference title this year to extend its win streak to 25 games. However, debate over its strength of schedule kept them out of the CFP. The Golden Knights will face LSU on Jan. 1 in the Fiesta Bowl.

This year, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma will head to the CFP semifinals to contend for a shot at the national title.

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