To say that this past season’s picks for the college football playoffs was controversial is an understatement. People criticized the selection committee for favoritism and I personally think there might be some truth to it. That being said, the committee got this right. Before I get to what was debated, the committee absolutely picked the four most deserving teams for the playoffs. You can make a case that Ohio State was more deserving than Alabama because their strength of schedule was greater and had more Top 25 victories, but their 31 point loss to Iowa is what ultimately hurt them. Then there is also the argument that University of Central Florida, who went undefeated for the season, should have had a chance to go at it in the playoffs even after they beat an Auburn squad in the Peach Bowl who beat both teams who played in the Championship Game (Alabama and University of Georgia). There were a few other arguments made, but as one can tell, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the decision. Every year there is controversy, but there seems to be more around this past one’s edition. That being said, there is only one solution to this problem, expand the playoffs.
That playoffs are already great right now, but to bring more excitement, money, and fairness, the playoffs need four more teams. Honestly, it would be totally beneficial to the NCAA if they expanded the playoffs and this is a no brainer.
How the NCAA will go about those logistics? That’s ultimately up to them, but here is something I propose to accommodate their season’s length. I am not too much of a fan of non-conference games, but I recognize some are needed. I say get rid of one of those scheduled weeks for non-conference games in order to keep the same amount of possible games played for a school in the season. If fifteen possible games is what the NCAA, schools, TV, and fans want, then scrap the shortening of the regular season idea. Alabama played a possible 14 games this year including the playoffs, which is a lot, and playing more might have caused some problems.
Now lets look into what the field would have looked like with the final Top 25 rankings had the eight-team playoff been in effect:
5. Ohio State
8. Penn State
The only qualm I have with this is having Auburn not considered in the top eight. They had beaten both Alabama and Georgia and had a good loss to a Clemson squad. The LSU loss hurt them (even though they finished 18th) a lot as LSU had lost to Troy earlier in the season and even Mississippi State when they were unranked though Mississippi State finished 19th. But four losses looks bad for Auburn and three would have been hard to argue if there was an eight team playoff. Otherwise, this looks fair. I would have put Auburn in the seven seed, shifted Wisconsin down to eight, and had Penn State miss out (though they deservedly should have been there too). Another notable team to miss out was Notre Dame who finished 11th in the rankings as they had a great season. This past college football calendar year was one of the most exciting ones in recent seasons so this would have been a tough field to pick out had the eight team playoff been in effect.
Ultimately, I think they need to expand the playoffs to avoid controversies like some I had mentioned earlier. Not only would it help expel that, it could also generate more revenue for the NCAA and more interest. In my other article about the XFL, I mentioned some of the things that could hurt College Football if the XFL does indeed start playing. That would mean the NCAA would have to find ways to compete and adapt with the XFL and this should be one of their starting points. But even without the XFL factoring in, the College Football Playoffs not only should expand, it’s necessary for them. Besides, just imagine all the classic games it could provide. I know I would tune in more.