The College Football Playoff committee announced last week the four-team playoff will see through the 12-year contract to 2025-26 season. While an expanded playoff proposal was presented this past summer, an agreement could not be met about it, and who knows if an agreement will be made in the next five years. How do you feel about the CFP’s decision?
Expansion has been debated since the implementation of the playoff system. As it currently stands, a four-team playoff picture has demonstrated unfairness, favoring select Power Five teams, and a certain conference, over those that have gone an entire season undefeated. It has become about exclusivity, as each year has minimal variety in the final four.
For example, Alabama has made it seven times in the eight-year existence of the CFP and Clemson has gone to six of the eight. That’s nearly half of the allocated appearances between those two teams over that eight-year period. Oklahoma and Ohio State are tied for third with four appearances each.
If you include those three teams, your playoff is likely either Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma, or Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State any given year. So that leaves one or two spots open for another program in any given year. Based on those chances, I think it funnels the top tier talent to those four teams because it is almost guaranteed they make it in.
While it could be argued those are the teams that are consistently the best in the country because of the amount of appearances they have had, it doesn’t leave room for other teams to benefit from CFP appearances. I think increasing the playoff would increase the amount of parity. Talent would eventually spread out and more players would get the chance to perform on college football’s biggest stage. What do you think?
An argument I have seen against expansion is the elevated pressure on teams and players. Granted, expanding could increase the likelihood of injury because it would add another game to the season, but the general response from players and coaches has been trending positive in regards to expanding the playoff.
As it currently sits, the regular season is 12 games long, five short of a regular NFL season. Expanding to an eight-team playoff would increase any team’s total games by one. It is still shorter than the NFL regular season and I think adding an an extra playoff game would lead to more preparedness and more chances to show off talent to the NFL.
What would be beneficial to adding more games in the playoff? What kind of pressure do you think it would add on teams?
Another thing to hit on is the discussion about the CFP’s impact on bowl games. The grandeur a lot of them held seemed to have lost their meaning. The best example comes from Ohio State’s reaction to getting the Rose Bowl this year. The Rose Bowl was the standard teams wanted to make and was a championship implication. Since going to a playoff system, it doesn’t hold the same merit because it doesn’t serve that purpose anymore, which is why guys like Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave opted out of it.
While the college football landscape is evolving, it doesn’t mean the bowl games are being tossed to the wayside. It’s still a huge deal for schools to make it to one, but there is a noticeable difference for those that make a bowl game and those that are trying to get one of the coveted spots in the CFP. To align the nature of making a specific bowl game with the CFP, I think they need to be included into the expansion. If they added the nomenclature of the bowl games to the quarterfinal games, they would retain their merit and still be a game people want to be in. There are compromises to including the historic nature of the bowl games to the college football landscape of today, they just have to be considered.
How would you include the history of the bowl games into the playoff system?
I am a fan of extending the playoff to eight. I think adding the extra game will help determine the champion in a more straightforward manner. While I recognize the likelihood of expanding to eight could mean five spots would be taken by Power Five automatic bids, it still increases the amount of spots available to others. It would keep the inclusivity of the CFP, as attaining those spots would still be difficult. As previously mentioned, I think expansion would add more parity to the CFP while still providing the classic high stakes entertainment college football gives us.
How do you feel about the CFP’s decision to keep the four-team playoff? Do you think expansion is likely in the future?
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