While the decision to move to a college football playoff was a step in the right direction, the demands to expand the field beyond four teams are growing.

A sub-group of the College Football Playoff Management Committee recently proposed changing the current four-team format to a 12-team event. It seems like an expansion of the playoffs, albeit slowly, is inevitable.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how Jim Harbaugh’s team would have considered in a 12-team college football playoff – four years of which they were in the middle and two years of not being in the race (2017, 2020).

Two years that were close, but no cigar

  • Harbaugh’s first year in Michigan was actually a pretty good one. Transfer QB Jake Rudock made a solid starter, her only losses of the year to Utah (Week 1), the Trouble with the Snap last-second loss to Michigan State and a 42-13 loss to Ohio State into the season finale. Michigan was ranked No. 14 in the recent College Football Playoff Top 25. Michigan finished the season 10-3, beating Florida in the Citrus Bowl.
  • In 2019, Michigan sat 9-2 in 14th place on the CFP rankings when they faced Ohio State at Michigan Stadium. Michigan would lose the game 56-27, keeping them 14th in the last CFP Top 25. Michigan finished the season 9-4, losing to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl.

They would have been there for two years

  • Michigan had a really good team in 2016, the best of the Harbaugh era. They had a painful 14-13 loss in Iowa but were still ranked 3rd as they headed for Ohio State 2nd. The matchup against the Buckeyes would go into overtime where ‘The Spot’ took place and OSU QB JT Barrett got a 4th & 1 first down that will forever be disputed and refuted. Michigan lost 30-27 to Ohio State. Even with the loss to OSU, UM would not have made it. Michigan was ranked # 6 in the final CFP Top 25 and should have hit # 11 in the state of Florida in the proposed 12-team format. Michigan finished the season 10-3, losing to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
  • QB Shea Patterson had a pretty good first year in Michigan in 2018 and the Wolverines had momentum ahead of the Ohio state season finale. Michigan was ranked 4th while OSU was ranked 10th. Michigan was expected to win this tournament and was part of Michigan’s “Revenge Tour” started by Chase Winovich and hugged the team. While Michigan could get revenge on teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State, it couldn’t be said with their 62-39 loss to OSU. Michigan ended the year in 7th place and would have beaten Florida in 10th place in the proposed 12-team format. Michigan finished the season 9-5, losing to Florida in the Peach Bowl.