College Football Playoff: It Should Have Been 8 Teams From The Start

For the first time ever I went an entire month without a post and I’m going to try to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I should have some more time to post soon and will have some good posts upcoming, including finally writing about the Lions, so stay tuned.

When the College Football Playoff was first announced, I was ecstatic; just like everyone else. But, I was not a fan of it only being a four-team playoff. No, not because of the reasons that people are mentioning now, at least not initially. I wanted an eight-team playoff so that it would eventually evolve into a 16-team playoff. I wanted as many teams as possible involved because as much as I love Bowl Season, there is nothing better than a tournament to determine the National Champion. Plus, just because there is a playoff would not mean they would have to get rid of bowl games. They made that abundantly clear with the current set up they have now. But, the people in charge of it do not want that many playoff teams. They say it’s so the athletes don’t miss that much school, but that’s a total joke. I don’t see anyone objecting to March Madness. And if they think it’s too many games and don’t want players to get hurt, the absolute maximum they would play is 16 games, which is the same length as an NFL regular season. So what’s the real reason? That it would take away from the regular season and make it meaningless? Lol, no data to support that.

A four-team playoff just simply isn’t enough, especially if it’s a year like this year when there aren’t any truly dominant teams that are running the table. Or at least when there aren’t four teams that are running the table. An eight-team playoff would have allowed for the each of the Power 5 conference champions to get an auto-bid, plus three at-large bids, just like the BCS. People will say well where do you play these games? It’s quite simple. You set up 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, and 4 vs 5 with the highest seeds having home-field advantage. During that first week of bowl games, usually around December 17th, they host home playoff games with the four winners advancing to the set up that they have now and the four losers going to play in the remaining bowl games that are normally stocked with conference champions/highly ranked teams.

So what would an example be?

On campus games. Schools get to sell more tickets, concessions, parking, merchandise, etc, so they bring in more money. What’s not to like?

1. Alabama (SEC Champ)
8. Arizona (At-Large)

2. Florida State (ACC Champ)
7. Michigan State (At-Large)

3. Oregon (Pac-12 Champ)
6. TCU (At-Large)

4. Ohio State (Big Ten Champ)
5. Baylor (Big 12 Champ)

(SEC fans are immediately pissed about this Top 8, but this is just an example so everyone relax)

Then the winners meet in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, with the bracket re-seeding, so the highest seed plays the lowest remaining seed.

1. Alabama
4. Ohio State

2. Florida State
3. Oregon

Then the losers meet in the Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, with this bracket also re-seeding.

5. Baylor
8. Arizona

6. TCU
7. Michigan State

The winners of the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl then meet in a National Championship game while everyone else goes home. Just like the plan now.

1. Alabama
2. Florida State

I’m not saying all of the chalk would win, that’s just to give you a visual. This leaves out the Cotton Bowl and Peach Bowl, but they can obviously be incorporated into the rotation, like they’re planning on doing with the four-team playoff.

UPDATE: ESPN has mocked up this beauty using the final standings from this season:

CFB Playoff CFB Playoff

Bowl Rotation

All of the bowl games rotate as National Semi-Final and “Losers Bracket” hosts, which is pretty much what they are doing right now. Personally, I think this is a flawless plan and more football games = more money. They had signed a massive 12-year, $470 million per year TV contract with ESPN ($5.64 billion total) and something tells me that four more games would bring even more money in. You can check out full breakdowns of the contract here, and for each of the conferences here. A quick summary, you ask? It’s a shit ton of money.

This would allow you to eventually expand to 16 teams and continue to do away with the extra bowl games that aren’t that great, if you felt so inclined. Or this just expands the losers bracket, if you prefer that scenario, the better scenario. That being said, if you got to 16 teams, the losers would still only get one more remaining game at whichever bowl game they were assigned to or selected for.

Most importantly though, this gives the committee more leeway in their selections. I HATE having a committee select the teams, currently more than I hated the BCS polls selecting. That’s saying a lot because I thought the BCS computer polls were totally garbage and wrote about it quite often (herehere and here). But, this committee clearly has some MAJOR issues and spends a lot of time contradicting themselves. They think strength of schedule is important, but how is it more important than head-to-head? In what world should TCU get in over Baylor if Baylor beat TCU and they each have one loss? Their strength of schedule when comparing the two teams doesn’t matter WHEN THEY’VE PLAYED EACH OTHER.

Like, what? Am I taking crazy pills?

Things like game control and strength of record are good pieces to look at. No question there. But at no point should they trump head-to-head wins when two one-loss teams have played each other.

On top of that, releasing the weekly rankings like they keep doing is a horrific idea that has clearly been forced upon them by ESPN. ESPN and the other media outlets desperately want something to talk about during the week and have something to hype up matchups and now the committee is exposed to extra criticism for their inability to rank teams. If they had kept the BCS rankings and used those as a way to find 8 playoff teams, I think everything would have been better off.

I mean seriously, when you look at some of the things that Arkansas AD Jeff Long has said about the committee and what they consider it is EXTREMELY concerning.

None of this is okay. At all.

And I’m not the only one that thinks it is asinine for them to rank all of the teams each week.

If they don’t say things like this, or have the weekly rankings, we have nothing to object about. Which is both good and bad. It’s good because they don’t have to deal with criticism. But it’s bad because we wouldn’t know their thought process behind their final product or how bad they are. Which is why this committee just needs to go and a formula needs to be put in place. I was afraid they didn’t know enough about football to rank the teams from the start, and when they say and do things like this, it just further proves that.

And I’m not the only one looking for that 8-team playoff adjustment. The ACC Commissioner is already complaining about four teams, which would be breaking ranks from the rest of the commissioners.

It’s a shame that this year will be just the first of many years where there is controversy regarding the final four teams and who will get in. Thinking that it would be clear-cut without any controversy is and was totally juvenile. I’m just thankful that Michigan is so bad right now that by the time they are any good, an 8-team playoff will be in effect.

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