I love College Football.
I love the traditions, the rivalries, the polls, everything about it. And I’ll be the first one to tell you that.
But even I can see one single issue that has risen with the College Football Playoff system in the last few years.
In 2013, the BCS was discontinued and the College Football Playoff took over as the NCAA’s playoff system. With that change, the classic 2 team (poll-picked) National Championship went away, and the new 4-team (committee-picked) playoff came in.
Originally, to me, the idea of it was fine. The BCS was outdated. The Playoff was something new and, frankly, something better.
However, as the years have gone by it’s become painfully obvious that this system needs some altering.
To everyone but the College Football Playoff committee, that is.
The reality of the matter is that 4 teams are simply not enough if you want to crown a true National Champion. Considering there are 5 major conferences and almost always multiple elite teams in most of those conferences, limiting the playoff to four is asinine.
Doing so almost ensures the committee will leave a deserving team sitting at home, and that’s been proven from the very beginning of the College Football Playoff.
For example, in 2014 the committee chose to leave out an 11-1 TCU team and an 11-1 Baylor team who undoubtedly could have competed.
In 2015, 2016, and 2017 there weren’t quality one-loss teams that were left out, but each year an elite conference champion was excluded.
And finally this year. There are three undefeated teams: those three have automatic bids. But, as usual, the 4th spot is the most controversial. The committee was forced to decide between either 12-1 Oklahoma, 12-1 Ohio State, and 11-2 Georgia. Guaranteeing not just one, but two deserving teams get left out of the playoff.
As I previously said, leaving these deserving teams at home simply means that you’re not crowning a true national champion.
The entire reason the BCS was abolished was due to the fact that the championship was essentially picked by a poll.
And while the College Football Playoff has fixed that slightly, teams still don’t fully control their own title hopes. In order to play for a championship, you have to be in a hand-picked small group.
The fact that we must accept is that the NCAA needs a change. They need more than just a guaranteed Alabama and Clemson title game every season. They need to have teams play to crown a champion, opposed to only getting to play if you’re one of a select four.
So I’ve discussed why I believe the system needs changing. But anyone can observe a problem. The real question is what is the solution?
My proposal isn’t anything ground-breaking. In fact, it’s the most commonly agreed upon solution to the problem—to experiment originally with 8 teams. The field would consist of all power five conference champions, a group of five champion, and two wild cards.
It would allow all conferences to be represented, the Group of Five to be represented, and some conferences to have multiple teams involved.
Now, most theorists like to stop here, but not me. In my world, if this experiment was successful, I would then expand further. Possibly to 10, 12, or even 16 team field.
Thus increasing fan interaction, money, and the likelihood that the best team is crowned the champion. Great for all parties involved.
Now, I must note, the NCAA must not get too carried away with this. Where it is, I don’t know, but I do believe there is a point where they can expand too far.
But if this is done right?
The potential for the College Football Playoff, and College Football in general, is limitlessness.