Automatic berths are worst part of proposed 14-team College Football Playoff

I don't mind the idea of expanding the College Football Playoff to 12 teams, but guaranteeing spots to non-conference champions is ridiculous.

Fans stop to take photos with the College Football National Championship trophy at Meijer in
Fans stop to take photos with the College Football National Championship trophy at Meijer in / Kimberly P. Mitchell / USA TODAY NETWORK

We haven't even taken part in the first season of the 12-team College Football Playoff yet and already, there is talk of expanding the playoff to 14 teams.

Pete Thamel and Heather Dinich of ESPN reported on Wednesday that there was momentum for the 14-team College Football Playoff and the proposal gaining steam has some interesting components.

It's not a surprise that the SEC and Big Ten want an expanded playoff which would mean more spots for teams in their conferences. In fact, all four power conference (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, and Big 12) would get multuiple guaranteed spots in the 14-team College Football Playoff.

As it stands, the new proposal would feature three automatic berths for the Big Ten and SEC conferences, as well as two for the Big 12 and ACC. The top-ranked Group of Five champion would also be guaranteed a berth, along with three at-large spots.

Notre Dame would get one of those berths if it is a nine or 10-win team, but I still don't love the idea of automatic berths beyond the top five conference champions.

If a second or third-place team in the Big Ten or SEC belongs in the 14-team playoff, then they would get selected as one of the nine at-large berths that would be available. They'd have to be deserving and you could say the same about the Big 12 and the ACC.

It's easy to foresee a scenario in which a second group of five champion, which is ranked, is left out for the second-place team in the Big 12, which maybe isn't ranked. What if the SEC and Big Ten have down seasons? It's hard to imagine with all their elite teams, but you never know.

It just seems silly to guarantee berths to programs in conferences that are sometimes comparable and sometimes they aren't.

Going into the 12-team playoff, the third-best Big Ten or SEC team is almost guaranteed a spot in the playoff. In the 14-team playoff, a case could be made that the top four teams in each conference (SEC/Big Ten) will make the College Football Playoff, but automatic berths for second or third-place teams in a conference make me uneasy. They're also unnecessary.

Let the committee rank the teams and sort it out. Beyond that, with an 18-team conference, without divisions, determining third place might not be as easy as it sounds.

The idea of adding more teams shouldn't be surprising. Like the NFL discovered, two more playoff games can mean a lot more TV money, without impacting the overall quality. That's even more true in college football. Four teams were probably sufficient for determining the national champion but the cat is out of the bag now and it probably won't even stop at 14.

Which I like, as long as they get rid of auto berth.