Jim Harbaugh in favor of 16-team college football playoffs

Posted at 9:33 PM, Dec 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 21:33:20-05

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh would like to see the College Football Playoff expanded to 16 teams.

"I would just analyze it in terms of every other sport whether its gymnastics, basketball, pro football, FCS football ... pick a sport and they have a playoff to get to a champion," Harbaugh said. "None of them start with the last four. You have a great model with the NFL with their 12 teams and a great model in the FCS with their 16 teams and they just (increased) it to 24."

Harbaugh was in Florida on Thursday for the Outback Bowl contract signing. Michigan will play South Carolina in the game on New Year's Day.

The current playoff format has four teams, with Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and Alabama making up the field this year. While the Southeastern Conference has two teams in the playoff for the first time, the Big Ten and Pac-12 were shut out.

It was the second consecutive year the Big Ten champion was shut out of the playoffs. Last year, Ohio State was chosen over Penn State despite losing to the Nittany Lions during the regular season.

This year, Ohio State finished 11-2 and won the conference, but was edged out by Alabama. The Crimson Tide finished 11-1 and did not play in the SEC championship game.

Harbaugh said a 16-team playoff would make the most sense.

"Eight teams would be better than four and 12 would be better than eight," Harbaugh said. "I think 16 is kind of the sweet spot."

A 16-team playoff would force the eventual champion to play four postseason games which could add extra weeks to the season but Harbaugh said the season is already long as it is.

"The national champion now is playing 15 games, 14 games for the teams in the playoffs," Harbaugh said. "They are already playing a lot of games."

Harbaugh refused to discuss any potential interest in returning to the NFL.

"I don't get into it," Harbaugh said. "I'm not talking to you about it. I'm not answering your questions about it. I'm not going to play the game."