Not everybody agrees with with my plan, but it has a few things going for it. First, here's the plan:
- All conference champions qualify for the tournament. Those are the top ten seeds.
- The six best teams that didn't win a conference title qualify. That rounds out the field of 16.
- Higher seeds host the first-round games. Four bowls host the second-round games.
- First round losers still qualify for bowls.
Some say that there are teams that didn't win their conference that are better than many conference champs. That's a valid concern, and this plan covers it.
Some say this calls for teams to play too many games. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division 1-AA/FCS teams, which has a 24-team field. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division II, which has a 28-team field. It doesn't seem to be a problem for Division III, which has a 32-team field. If those schools can handle extra playoff games, then the bigger schools can.
Here's how the playoffs would line up this year:
1 Louisiana State (Southeastern Conference) #1 (CFP)
2 Ohio State (Big Ten Conference) #2 (CFP)
3 Clemson (Atlantic Coast Conference) #3 (CFP)
4 Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference) #4 (CFP)
5 Oregon (Pac-12 Conference) #6 (CFP)
6 Memphis (American Athletic Conference) #17 (CFP)
7 Boise State (Mountain West Conference) #19 (CFP)
8 Appalachian State (Sun Belt Conference) #20 (CFP)
9 Florida Atlantic (Conference USA) #32 (Coaches)
10 Miami (Ohio) (Mid-American Conference) Unranked
11 Georgia (At-large) #5 (CFP)
12 Baylor (At-large) #7 (CFP)
13 Wisconsin (At-large) #8 (CFP)
14 Florida (At-large) #9 (CFP)
15 Penn State (At-large) #10 (CFP)
16 Utah (At-large) #11 (CFP)
This would make some pretty good match-ups, equal to or better than some of the bowl games involving the teams in the field of 16.
Utah (11-2) at Louisiana State (13-0)
Penn State (10-2) at Ohio State (13-0)
Florida (10-2) at Clemson (13-0)
Wisconsin (10-3) at Oklahoma (12-1)
Baylor (11-2) at Oregon (11-2)
Georgia (11-2) at Memphis (12-1)
Miami (Ohio) (8-5) at Boise State (12-1)
Florida Atlantic (10-3) at Appalachian State (12-1)
The weakest matchup is the Miami (Ohio) vs. Boise State. However, it's no weaker than Boise State's bowl game (vs 7-5 Washington) or Miami (Ohio) bowl (vs 10-3 Louisiana-Lafayette).
You might not be on board with this, but that's okay. You have the right to be wrong.