WVU vs. Pitt Rivalry Gear Getty ImagesINDIANAPOLIS – Expanding the Colle Charleston Cougars shirtge Football Playoff to 16 teams is so easy a 10th-grader could do it. In 1998, Harold Shelton, who was a sophomore at Detroit Renaissance High School, mapped out his own 16-team playoff expansio
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INDIANAPOLIS – Expanding the College Football Playoff to 16 teams is so easy a 10th-grader could do it. 

In 1998, Harold Shelton, who was a sophomore at Detroit Renaissance High School, mapped out his own 16-team playoff expansion proposal. Shelton, now a researcher for the Big Ten Network, just needs to go back to his parents' house to prove it.

"My dad was always of the opinion that if you had a suggestion or had a complaint that you should call somebody or write somebody instead of just complaining about it,” Shelton told Sporting News. 

Shelton went to work. He fired up the dial-up internet, used the BCS standings, plotted out a 16-team bracket, typed all that out and sent it to the NCAA through the mail. 

DECOURCY: Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is open to expansion, but it's got to be a value add

"It seemed to make too much sense," Shelton said. "Basketball figured this out when it expanded to 64 teams in ‘85. That's been the biggest event outside the Super Bowl in American sports."

It's been almost a quarter century, but the 16-team talk is back. ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith men Dartmouth Big Green clothes tioned the 16-team playoff conversation after the Big Ten ADs met this week.

Clemson's Dabo Swinney casually dropped a Bucknell Bison shirt 16-team playoff reference at the ACC Kickoff last week. 

The Big Ten should be a big fan of a potential 16-team setup. In fact, the conference should be pushing this setup College Cold Weather Shirts . Big Ten football advisor Barry Alvarez was among those who addressed what that might theoretically look like at Big Ten Media Days on Wednesday. 

MORE: What's next for college football after USC, UCLA join Big Ten?

"This weekend was the first I heard of 16," Alvarez said. "I can live with 16. You have to start Week 0 and figure it out. Players want to play."

The College Football Playoff contract expires after the 2025 season. On Jan. 7, the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick concluded three days of meetings without advancing last summer's proposal for a 12-tea NCAA Backpacks m College Football Playoff. 

So, why not float 16 teams out there as a trial balloon? The Big Ten would be in pr College Lacrosse Jerseys ime position to have multiple bids every year. Look at the final College Football Playoff rankings based and see those 16 teams out. The Big Ten would have 31 playoff appearances, three more than the SEC at 28. Under this format, the Big Ten West champion – which has lost the last eight Big Ten championship games – would be in the CFP.

The numbers might change with Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC and UCLA and USC coming to the Big Ten, but not by much. 

Big Ten playoff teams under a 16-team setup

YEA NCAA Crewneck Sweatshirts R BIDS TEAMS
2014 2 4. Ohio State (12-1), 8. Michigan State (8-2)
2015 5 3. Michigan State (12-1), 5. Iowa (12-1), 7. Ohio State (11-1), 13. Northwestern (10-2), 14. Michigan (9-3)
2016 4 3. Ohio State (11-1), 5. Penn State (11-2), 6. Michigan (10-2), 8. Wisconsin (10-3)
2 Florida State Seminoles clothes 017 4 5. Ohio State (11-2), 6. Wisconsin (12-1), 9. Penn State (10-2), 16. Michigan State (9-3)
2018 3 6. Ohio State (12-1), 7. Michigan (10-2), 12. Penn State (9-3)
2019 5 2. Ohio State (13-0), 8. Wisconsin (10-3), 10. Penn State (10-2), 14. Michigan (9-3), 16. Iowa (9-3)
2020 4 3. Ohio State (6-0), 11. Indiana (6-1), 14. Northwestern (6-1), 15. Iowa (6-2)
2021 4 2. Michigan (12-1), 6. Ohio State (10-2), 10. Michigan State (10-2), 15. Iowa (10-3)

MORE: Big Ten's poaching of USC, UCLA leads to more questions than answers

"There are pros and cons to every situation," Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said. "If it were a true 16 and it was all at-large or some fixed number of AQs and a large number of at-larges, you have to believe that the Big Ten, as we continue to grow and establish ourselves geographically and traditionally, we are going to be in a strong position to put a lot of teams into that playoff."

New Penn State athletic director Pat Kraft still thinks 12 is the better number for expansion. 

"I do think it's going to expand," Kraft said.

Is it in the best interest of the game – 12 or 16? You have to look at the whole calendar and how that works out. Are you playing at home the first two rounds? What does it do to the bowl system? I think it's going to be 12.

The potential for a 17-game college football season might be a tough sell, so take one regular-season game off. The bowl system would be trickier, but those games could still be played. Then, there also are schools like Ohio State, which would be in the CFP every year with 16 teams but that would not necessarily reflect their dominance over the conference. Ohio State coach Ryan Day did not have a take on CFP expansion. 

"I don't know if I can even answer that," Day said.

It sounds exciting, but there are so many things that come with that.

MORE: Will Notre Dame now join the Big Ten? The future of the Irish has become murky 

Big Ten CFP appearances if it were 16 teams

School No. of appearances
Ohio State 8
Michigan 5
Michigan State 4
Penn State 4
Iowa 4
Wisconsin 3
Northwestern 2
Indiana 1

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker would be on the other end of that. The Spartans Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Gear finished 10-2 in the regular season before advancing t American University Eagles Jerseys o the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Would the Spartans would be a playoff regular in the 16-team setup? 

"I like when more players have an opportunity to win a championship,” Tucker said. "You only get so many opportunities to play. Expansion would do that, but what is that going to look like. Who knows?” 

Smith's comments suggest there are some people in the know pushing for that 16-team playoff. It would have more teams than the NFL, which is the best professional postseason product. It would match the Sweet 16 weekend of the men's basketball tournament. It would be the most-inclusive playoff plan to date, albeit at the expense of the sanctity of the college football regular season. Yet, if old-school administrators like Alvarez are speaking favorably about it, then there is something to it. 

MORE: SEC commissioner says conference is already a 'super league', will be cautious about expansion 

"Every game is important. Now you see people lose interest when a team loses early, ‘Now they're out of the playoff,'” Alvarez said. "I just think it keeps the interest longer, and I think it will help college football whether it will be eight, 12 or 16."

If it is indeed 16, then Shelton will be among those feeling vindication. 

"One of my parents said send it, keep a copy for yourself so if they ever use your idea, then you can claim you had it first,” Shelton said. "That's what I wound up doing.” 

He just needs to find that original copy to show the work. 



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