The College Football Playoffs begin on Dec. 29. Obviously, we are all very excited to see some talented teams square off for their chance to win a national championship, but it leaves us wanting more. For instance, why hasn’t UCF been given their opportunity to play for a national championship after being undefeated 2 years in a row? What about a couple years ago when Boise State got no love and ultimately started this conversation about a playoff system in the first place? We all wanted a CFB playoff and they gave us one because the BCS was a steaming pile of shit, but I still don’t feel satisfied. This isn’t entirely what I asked for; give me Alabama vs. UCF!
Some of the Problems with Expanding to an 8 Team CFB Playoff
The main problem with expanding the CFB playoff is the fact that it is likely too much to ask of these college athletes to play an extra game. The toll that these kids take on their bodies throughout the season is too much for them to have to play another game. I get it, they have been playing all season long, most of the teams in the playoffs will have played 13 games by that point, including the conference championship. Then you tack on 3 extra games for 2 lucky teams? Wow its almost like they are playing an NFL regular season. That’s definitely too much for these kids, that ultimately someday want to play on Sunday, to endure. 75% the guys on these teams aren’t even going to make it to the next level, and the guys that doe will be playing against much stronger talent then they ever have before, with those extra 3 games and maybe more.
Former Clemson star linebacker Ben Boulware said after winning the national championship in 2016, “If we had to do another game after this? God, no, I’d literally die.” Sounds like a guy I want playing for me in the NFL, am I right???
No football player goes into college thinking that there is no shot they make it to the next level. There is always some glimmer of hope. And if they did go in with that thought, then they are either at a school that this playoff doesn’t effect or they aren’t playing a whole lot anyway. Even if those kids are good enough, but aren’t expecting to be at the next level, then wouldn’t they be playing for the love of the game and have the wish to play as much as possible? If that’s not the case, then what are they playing for anyway?
The way I see it, any football player would kill to win a national championship against the best talent, and if that means adding on an extra game then they should be that more excited about the level of competition. Of course, the safest way to do this would be to give each team in the national championship ample amount of time to get their team fully healthy and ready to go. So, with the first round being on Dec. 29th; the second round being the following Saturday, Jan. 5th; and the national championship taking place two weeks later on Jan. 14th. That gives everyone an extra break to prepare for the game, and rest their bodies so that there are no injuries.
The other way in which some have discussed going about expanding the CFB playoff to 8 teams is by eliminating a game from every teams schedule each year so that teams don’t have to play an extra game. I have heard that this would be either by eliminating the usual cupcake game from each teams schedule or by taking away a conference game.
I see no reason why you should eliminate a conference game from the schedule. The point of these games are to see who is the best in the conference. Eliminating one of these games means that not everyone plays maybe the best team in the conference each year, and we may not have those conference wins that mean something come conference championship time. So don’t take away a conference game.
When it comes to the cupcake game, every team plays some school for the blind or little sisters of the poor that boosts their team’s morale early in the season or maybe as their homecoming game. It is something that I guarantee you will see somewhere on each team’s schedule, unless of course they are that school for the blind or little sisters of the poor and they have to play Alabama week 2.
Some college football pundits say that this would be wrong to take away these games. Their reasoning is because that means that these teams don’t get paid the millions of dollars to get stomped on each week. Also, sometimes you get those crazy upsets like when Appalachian State beat Michigan in 2007 or when Troy beat LSU in 2017. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good upset, but it’s not like there still won’t be these games. Each team will still schedule 3 non-conference games, they will be able to play whomever they want. If they want to play the little sisters of the poor, then sure go ahead and have an easy schedule; but if you want to schedule like Alabama week 1, then go right ahead and have that tough non-conference game. All of this is up to the programs to decided if they want to make their season interesting. Get rid of one of the cupcake non-conference games.
The Whole Point of a CFB Playoff in the First Place
Think about the point of the CFB playoffs. The whole point in the beginning was to give teams like Boise State and UCF a chance to play for the national championship. Since its inception, there has been no non-Power 5 school in the playoff aside from Notre Dame, who is an independent, but its goddamn Notre Dame (Yikes, took God’s name in vain and said Notre Dame in the same sentence, Catholics won’t like that). Also, no one wants to see strength of schedule 61 Notre Dame in the playoffs anyway, at least with this format (Notre Dame fans won’t like that either).
Give those undefeated teams like UCF this year and last year, Western Michigan in 2016, and Boise State in 2006, 2008, and 2009 a chance to play against the best teams in college football. College basketball does it, why can’t college football too? We have all seen what can happen when you give these teams the opportunity to play against the best teams in the country. In basketball UMBC (16 seed) beat Virginia (1 seed) last year in March Madness. In football, you have UCF beating Auburn last year in their bowl game and finishing the season undefeated.
What the CFB Playoffs Should Look Like
The way the 8 teams should be selected is based on whom is the best team in each Power 5 conference, the best non-Power 5 team, and then two at large bids. So, this would mean that we would have essentially 6 Conference Champions, and then two really good teams, all competing for the national championship. If we took this year, 2018, for example, if we are going purely off of where each of these teams fall in the final standings:
1 Alabama (SEC Champ) vs. 8 Washington (Pac-12 Champ)
4 Oklahoma (Big-12 Champ) vs. 5 Georgia (At-Large Bid)
3 Notre Dame (At-Large Bid) vs. 6 Ohio State (Big-10 Champ)
2 Clemson (ACC Champ) vs. 7 UCF (Best Non-Power 5)
You’re lying if you think that those first round games aren’t amazing. Plus, it gives these teams that otherwise would never play each other the opportunity to prove themselves against the best. What I love about an expanded playoff is the potential match-ups and stories that could come from it. Where else could we see a 1 seed Alabama play against a 7 seed UCF in the national championship? The answer is no where.
Think about the money that could be made off of this playoff. The amount of amazing talent and games that would be played is absurd. If the CFB playoffs know what is good for them then they should expand.
How fun this year’s 8 team CFB playoff would be? The answer is super fun; that is what you should be thinking. Unfortunately, the CFB playoff doesn’t compare to March Madness and, for right now, never will. They absolutely should expand to an 8 team playoff.