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FBS College Football
           === Dorm Report: Talking about playoffs ===
 By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There is only one more season until the
 national championship at the FBS level is decided by a playoff.
 The format that many college football fans had been clamoring for since
 the inception of the BCS in 1998 was officially given the go-ahead last
 year when the BCS Presidential Advisory Committee and the Group of
 Commissioners voted unanimously for a four-team playoff beginning with the
 2014 season.
 Since that time, the details and structure of the aptly named "College
 Football Playoff" have come to light, including venues and how teams will
 be selected.
 While the system is certainly an enormous step in the right direction
 for those fans who grew tired of the computer-generated champions of the
 BCS era, there is still a large contingency of fans that would prefer
 an even larger pool.
 It's not just the fans who are voicing those sentiments anymore.
 In a radio interview with SiriusXM College Sports Nation recently,
 Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis stated his belief that the
 four-team system may just be a solution right now but not further down
 the line.
 "I'm not so sure four (teams) is the right answer," Hollis said. "I think it's
 our answer for the short term, but I think you're going to have more teams feel
 slighted by not being part of the process than when there were two."
 Hollis' comments echo those made just a couple weeks earlier by Mountain West
 commissioner Craig Thompson in an interview with the same radio network.
 Now it is one thing for a representative from the Mountain West
 Conference to feel the field of four is still too limited. After all, the MWC
 is not considered one of the power six conferences, a group which will
 undoubtedly still receive more favorable treatment even in the playoff system.
 Add in the fact that such fabled MWC teams like the 2006 Utah Utes and the 2010
 Texas Christian Horned Frogs went undefeated and still didn't get a shot at the
 national title, and it's easy to see why Thompson would feel that way.
 However, Hollis is not a representative from the "have-nots" of the FBS
 world. Hollis is very much in the "have" category with the Big Ten, arguably
 the second-most prestigious (and favored) conference in the country outside the
 vaunted SEC.
 Having someone like that on the side of expansion makes the idea that much
 more interesting and plausible for that matter.
 As it stands, the College Football Playoff will be instituted for the
 2014 season. Based on the contracts that have been set up, the four-team
 format is set to run until 2026. With how slow-moving the powers at be
 were in even putting forth a playoff, raising the number of teams could take
 a while.
 Obviously, based on Hollis' and Thompson's comments, the possibly will take
 It is likely the commissioners who voted to put in this playoff will want to
 see how it runs for a few years. They will want to gauge fan interest, TV
 ratings and, above all, the bottom line in terms of income. If the playoff
 proves successful, and there is little indication that it won't, then the
 conversation of moving up to an eight-team system could become considerably
 Eight teams would be an ideal spot for the playoff system. In such a
 structure, it would be logical that the champions of the power six
 conferences (if the American Athletic Conference is still considered in
 that category) would get six slots and the final two would go to at-large bids.
 That would allow the power brokers of the major conferences to still
 retain the bulk of the shares in the playoff while giving conferences
 like the MWC and the Mid-American Conference a fighting chance at a
 national championship.
 Using last year as an example, the eight-team field would consist of
 Alabama (SEC champ), Ohio State (Big Ten champ), Oregon (Pac-12 champ),
 Kansas State (Big 12 champ), Louisville (Big East champ), Florida State
 (ACC champ) and Notre Dame (at-large), with Stanford, Northern Illinois and
 Georgia taking aim at the other at-large spot. Who says no to that?
 Obviously, eight teams still has some drawbacks. One is attendance, but that is
 not exclusive to an eight-team format. Any expansion could be affected
 negatively as games in back-to-back weekends give fans and students much less
 travel time than under the current system and thus could lead to emptier
 Attendance aside, from a purely structural stand-point, the eight-team
 system could still be considered not inclusive enough. There will still
 be teams that feel left out. Texas A&M or Oklahoma, for example, in the
 mock 2012 scenario.
 However, expanding to 16 teams would mean overkill. The regular season,
 which many of the detracting commissioners to the playoff system want to
 protect, would become less meaningful. On top of that, there would need
 to be four separate weekends for the playoffs, with the two teams making it
 to the end likely playing 16 games in a season.
 Unlike basketball, football teams just can't play every other day. Plus, a 16-
 team playoff, using 2012 as an example again, would have teams like Michigan
 (8-5) and Oregon State (9-4) in contention. That dilution of the pool is a
 little too much.
 Right now, all of this is still speculation because just a few grumblings from
 some higher-ups in the college football world does not guarantee
 expansion. However, just the fact that someone other than the fans is
 tossing the idea around provides some hope for those who want more.
 For now, let's just be happy there is a playoff at all.
 06/04 09:42:29 ET

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