James Franklin: If College Football Playoff expands, expand as big as possible

The expansion of the College Football Playoff may be in a holding pattern, but odds are pretty good expansion at some point in the future is inevitable. And whenever that time comes, Penn State head coach James Franklin suggests it should expand as much as possible to help preserve the importance of more bowl games.

Franklin was asked about his thoughts on the importance of bowl games in college football today in light of a growing list of players deciding to opt out of the bowl season entirely. At the time of the question being posed to Franklin, word had not yet broken about linebacker Brandon Smith declaring for the 2022 NFL draft and skipping Penn State’s appearance in the Outback Bowl, but it was a national storyline once again as two of the top six Heisman Trophy vote-getters (Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III) confirmed they will sit out of the Peach Bowl, a New Years Six bowl game.

I think obviously, that’s a challenge right now,” Franklin responded during his media session on Friday. “We’re talking about going eight playoff spots or twelve playoff spots. In my mind, you make it as big as possible. Once we expand the playoffs, in my opinion, we’re going to continue to deemphasize those other bowl games.”

The College Football Playoff is restricted to a four-team mini-bracket, with semifinal games being played in the current bowl structure, rotating among the New Years Six bowl games (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Peach Bowl), and a designated host city to serve as the site of the national championship game. As the years have gone by, more and more players not playing in playoff games add their names to the list of players opting out of their school’s bowl game.

By Franklin’s estimation, expanding the playoff leads to a possibility of adding more value and importance to more bowl games. And while he didn’t provide any specifics on why that might be or how it could work, Franklin seemed to be pretty firm on this stance.

“To me, if we’re going to expand the playoffs, we should expand it as big as we possibly can to allow more teams the opportunity to play for the title, but also to be able to protect those bowl games by including them in that process as much as possible,” Franklin explained.

The reality is there is perhaps no perfect playoff model that will be able to please everybody, and the bowl structure may never be the same as it once was. But at least Franklin is among the many who seem open to new ideas.


What does Penn State's bowl history look like in the last 20 years?


With SEC expansion official, will Big Ten and others slow down College Football Playoff expansion?

An expanded College Football Playoff could be very good for Penn State

The College Football Playoff will once again be played on the worst day possible in 2021

Follow Nittany Lions Wire on Twitter and like us on Facebook for continuing Penn State coverage and discussion.