A little over a year ago, Jim Harbaugh shared his thoughts on the college football playoff system and how to improve it moving forward. Sharing a similar belief to the majority of college football fans, Harbaugh acknowledged the need for expansion to the college football playoff.
So, how exactly do you expand it? According to Harbaugh, you start with dropping the conference championship games and expand the playoffs to include 11 teams. Teams would still have 12 regular season games, but the conference champions would be determined based on their overall conference record and tiebreakers.
Using the 2019 season as an example, it required LSU to play in 15 games before being crowned national champion. Under Harbaugh’s plan, the maximum number of games required to crown a national champion would also be 15 games - but the field would be significantly larger.
Here’s how it would work:
- Eliminate the conference championship games and crown a conference champion based on their 12-game regular season record (factoring in tiebreakers).
- The College Football Playoff consists of 11 teams, including each power five conference champion and a BCS-type system to rank teams No. 6-11.
- The No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams receive a first round bye.
- The first round of the playoff takes place during the first weekend in December - consisting of teams ranked No. 6-11.
- Round two of the playoff takes place the second weekend of December - consisting of the three winners from the first round joining the top five teams for round two (8 total teams).
- Round three of the playoff (the college football playoff semifinal) takes place the third weekend of December - consisting of the four winners of the second round.
- The two winners of the semifinal advance to the National Championship game which would be played in early January.
While even this proposal would still lead to debate and frustration among those left just on the outside looking in of an 11-team playoff, the expansion would create far more excitement for the playoff itself as new contenders would enter the picture. The days of a playoff consisting only of the same four or five programs year in and year out would be over - something the majority of college football fans would gladly support.