What’s up with the College Football Playoff?
With the third installment of the College Football Playoff and with the national championship, featuring a rematch of last year's national championship between Nick Saban’s Alabama and Dabo Swinney’s Clemson, approaching, it's clear that there are still plaguing issues that are occurring within this relatively new system. Due to the fact that there are still only 4 spots available for the power five conferences, there continues to be a conference that is left out.
This year's major loser was the Big 12 conference, failing to provide an outright champion that could contend for a playoff seed. The University of Oklahoma began the year at 1-2, with non-conference losses to Ohio State and Houston. They would finish the year at 11-2, on a roaring winning streak, proving to be one of the hottest teams in the country. In all likelihood, if they had decided to reschedule those games against other lowly programs, Oklahoma would potentially have gone undefeated and would have clinched a playoff spot.
Other schools like USC and Penn State, after a major Rose Bowl Classic, represented the hot finishes towards the end of the season. Given that each team respectively had 8 game winning streaks and Penn State had won the Big 10 conference, it’s evident that these teams were deserving for some type of playoff bid. USC had beaten the fourth-seeded Washington Huskies and a potential rematch against the Crimson Tide would have brought an abundance of viewers.
It took years for the College Football world to be able to evolve from a BCS system to a playoff system and as we know, there really aren't that many changes that are ever made. However, there are a few solutions that could solve a lot of the drama that will surely exist for the next few seasons. The number one and two seeds could each have first-round byes, similar to the current NFL system for the AFC and NFC. This would enable a fifth and sixth seed to emerge, and potentially rid the issue of leaving out a power five conference representative. It would only add another game to the schedule, the only issue would be determining if these mini “wild-card like” matchups were considered as bowl games or not.
Another potential solution would be instilling an 8 team playoff. The reason why people are in love with March Madness, the college basketball tournament in March, is because of the complete unexpectedness of the tournament. There are matchups between lowly 15 seeds who somehow upset a number 3 Duke. This could be translated to the College Football world and these matchups could occur. Who knows, maybe a team like Western Michigan, given the right opportunity, could upset a team like Alabama.
The only disadvantages of expanding the playoff is an extension of the schedule, which could prove to be exhausting. However, by adding one week, players are able to get a taste of the grueling 17 that they will face in the NFL. The current four-team fiasco is desperately calling for a revision and it is yet to be seen in the coming years to witness and sort of changes.