College Football Playoff expansion? Boise State, Notre Dame looking beyond 4

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Since four is pretty much the smallest number of teams that can be in a playoff system, we're beginning to hear calls for expanding the new College Football Playoff to eight or even 16 teams, although Bill Hancock says it won't happen before 2026.

We now officially have a College Football Playoff, with four teams in it. It is now time for us to start talking about how many more teams there should be in the college football playoff.

When first announcing the details of the new system, Bill Hancock was very, very, very, very adamant that the new system would feature only four teams for the duration of the 12-year cycle put in place, from 2015 through 2026. However, everybody had already been speculating that it was just a stepping stone, that the money was too big and the desire to add as many teams as possible too strong for the format to forever stay at four.

And we're officially starting to hear important people advocating for a more inclusive system. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“I don’t know that four is where we’re going to finish this thing. I think it’s a great entry into where we want to go,” said Kelly, who toured the stadium in preparation for his team’s Oct. 5 matchup at Cowboys Stadium against Arizona State. “Moving forward, I think the focus will be on whether it’s eight or 16 [teams] or whatever the number is.”

Boise State's Chris Petersen, from CBS Sports:

"Is this (the new four-team playoff) better for all of us in college football?" Petersen asked. "I think a playoff system and a four-team structure, no, I don't think anybody's going, 'That is the answer.' But it's moving in the right direction.

"How do you get an eight-team (playoff)? I think that would be the next really awesome step, and then how do you go even bigger than that? Well, how do we get that all done? We can only play so many games. This is college football. They're students, and you have finals and injuries. I don't have the answers."

Petersen would go on to advocate for a 16-team playoff in an ideal world, but admitted it seemed logistically difficult to sort out.

Update: Add Stanford's David Shaw to the list:

We'll probably continue to hear calls for an expanded playoff system -- especially from coaches of schools who have the possibility to finish in the 5-8 region -- much as we'd heard calls for the inception of a playoff for the majority of the BCS era. Whether or not anything comes of it before the end of the 12-year cycle Hancock outlined is another story.

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