The third College Football Playoff rankings had barely been released before Bill Hancock, the CFP's executive director, reiterated that the system is working.
"We are confident," Hancock said Sunday, "that four is the right number."
But eight is so much more fun! And it seems that the majority of fans want the playoff to expand! And every playoff in every major American sport has eventually grown bigger!
"I don't anticipate any discussion about expansion," Hancock said.
Hancock is a prince of a guy, but when it comes to college football's postseason, he's the smiling sheriff of the fun police. Just because the sport's decision-makers aren't interested in exploring an eight-team playoff doesn't mean we can't drum up one.
Why eight teams? Many believe eight is the sweet spot for the college football playoff: more national representation but not too much, and only one more round of competition.
What would an eight-team playoff look like this season? The exercise is part reality and part subjectivity.
To acknowledge the selection committee members, we will use their top four: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Washington.
Now, the fun part: We pick the next four!
They are: No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 USC and No. 8 Oklahoma. Despite a 39-point loss at Michigan Stadium, Penn State is ahead of the Wolverines because of its overall profile (wins over Ohio State, Wisconsin, Temple and Iowa) and conference championship. USC didn't win its conference or division but has two better wins -- Washington and Colorado -- than anything on Oklahoma's résumé. Plus, outside of Alabama, USC is the team no one wants to play.
The first four out: Wisconsin, Florida State, Colorado and Western Michigan.
Here's how a hypothetical eight-team playoff would look this year.
No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (10-2)
The Sooners want to show they're not the same team that started 1-2, and coach Bob Stoops always craves chances to take down the SEC's best. The game features the nation's most dominant defense against a surging Oklahoma offense featuring quarterback Baker Mayfield, running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, and transcendent wide receiver Dede Westbrook. It would take a lot for Oklahoma to win, but the Sooners have the type of offense -- coordinated by Lincoln Riley -- that tends to give Alabama trouble. Crimson Tide wide receivers Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart would look to attack a vulnerable OU secondary.
No. 2 Clemson (12-1) vs. No. 7 USC (9-3)
Who wouldn't want to see this matchup? It has it all: game-changing quarterbacks in Clemson's Deshaun Watson and USC's Sam Darnold, NFL-ready wide receivers in Clemson's Mike Williams and USC's JuJu Smith-Schuster, solid running back play, and elite cornerbacks in USC's Adoree' Jackson and Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley. If you like speed and highlights, this game will not disappoint. Clemson has been on the big stage much more often than USC in recent years, but the Trojans showed at Washington that they are coming back strong.
No. 3 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 6 Michigan (10-2)
Yes, we get to see The Game again. It won't be quite the same at a neutral site (unless the hypothetical playoff begins on campus, which isn't a bad thing at all), but these teams are so evenly matched that drama is inevitable. Michigan had the right blueprint to beat Ohio State the first time around. If quarterback Wilton Speight could take better care of the football against an opportunistic Buckeyes defense, the Wolverines likely would advance. Ohio State would once again lean on Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore, Raekwon McMillan and the defense, as well as veteran signal-caller J.T. Barrett, to beat its archrival for the second time and advance to the semifinals.
No. 4 Washington (12-1) vs. No. 5 Penn State (11-2)
We debated these two through the night and into Sunday, but in an eight-team playoff, the Huskies and Nittany Lions settle it on the field. Underrated quarterbacks Jake Browning (Washington) and Trace McSorley (Penn State) lead big-play offenses with excellent running backs -- Washington's Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, and Penn State's Saquon Barkley -- and perimeter threats in John Ross III and DaeSean Hamilton. Washington has the more decorated defense, highlighted by Budda Baker and Sidney Jones in the secondary, but Penn State's defense gave Ohio State fits and steadily improved as the season went along.