The format of college football’s championship has been a popular topic over the last decade, and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh wants to see the current tournament expanded.
According to Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News, Harbaugh told 97.1 The Ticket that he’d quadruple the number of College Football Playoff qualifiers.
“I would change it to 16 teams. FCS, they’ve got a great system. It’s been in place for many years. My dad won the national championship at Western Kentucky when they were I-AA in 2002. I think that’s the best system.”
Harbaugh also said he disagreed that creating a larger playoff makes the season longer, since the national champion and runner-up typically play 15 games already.
He added that a 12-team playoff is sensible, and we’re inclined to agree.
While the College Football Playoff is a more intriguing way to determine the champion, every other level of football — and college sport — has a final tournament to decide which school hoists the trophy.
The Football Championship Subdivision currently uses a 24-team playoff, giving the top eight schools a first-round bye. Even if that number is slashed in half for FBS purposes, the four highest-ranked programs could receive a week off while eight teams play in the first round.
Expanding the tournament wouldn’t devalue the regular season, especially if byes are included. Earning an extra week off would be an important goal, and a second loss wouldn’t effectively crush a team’s hopes of a championship. It would also provide chances for Cinderella stories on the gridiron.
The current format won’t be changed until the contract expires after the 2026 season, but it’s fair to expect Harbaugh will be contributing to the charge for adjustments as that year approaches.