Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh offered an interesting take on how to expand the College Football Playoff as the bracket format moves into its sixth season.
Harbaugh, who was among the coaches surveyed by ESPN about the current four-team playoff model, expressed his desire to expand the bracket to 11 teams.
The Wolverines coach suggested the top seeds in the tournament would be filled with four Power 5 conference schools and one non-Power 5 school – for example, Notre Dame. Each Power 5 conference champion would be determined in a 12-game regular season by conference records and tiebreakers, he told ESPN.
He then suggested a BCS model to determine the rest of the field with the sixth through 11th ranked teams starting play on the first Saturday in December.
“To play each other, to have tiebreakers, within those 12 games, you should be able to determine who your conference champion is,” Harbaugh told ESPN. “If you don’t have the conference championship games, then you can expand your playoff to at least eight.”
Harbaugh said Clemson would have had to play 15 games last season to have won a national championship.
“You’d still have the same bowl structure that you have now, and teams that lost on Dec. 1, it’s like they would’ve been in a championship game and then they play in a bowl game,” he said. “Nobody would play 16 games.”
Expanding the College Football Playoff has been talked about since the start of the bracket-based tournament. The NCAA Division I Football Championship, which was formerly the NCAA Division 1-AA Championship, is a 16-team tournament with its first round starting in November and the title game being played in January.
The selection committee released its first rankings Tuesday. Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Penn State are the top four teams in the first release of the season.