North Texas Daily

Column: Should the College Football Playoff Be Expanded?

Column: Should the College Football Playoff Be Expanded?

Column: Should the College Football Playoff Be Expanded?
October 07
01:21 2018

The College Football Playoff system, in which four teams are chosen to compete in a two-round bracket, was introduced during the 2014 season. The College Football Playoff committee, comprised of 13 members, was established to decide which teams would play in the semi-final games.

So far, the results have been good. The playoff’s very first championship game heralded a 31 percent audience increase over the previous year’s Bowl Championship Series and a 22 percent increase over the BCS title game’s best ever cable rating.

One thing we’ve seen from the integration of the playoff system is that bowl games have less meaning than they did before.

We’ve seen players slated to be selected high in the NFL Draft choose to skip bowl games in order to avoid injury. Top picks like Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson both competed in the College Football Playoff during their college careers with the latter winning a national championship in 2017. It’s a shame the only cream of the crop players willing to play in a bowl game are those in the finals. 

While many people might favor this new playoff format, others agree it could be better. One of the most talked about subjects is expanding the playoffs to eight teams.

I for one, think the expansion of eight teams would do a lot of good for college football. With the way it is now, one Power Five conference is always left out. In the first playoff year, a Big 12 school was left out, with Baylor and Texas Christian being the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively.

The year after, the PAC-12 wasn’t represented.

In 2016, a Big 12 school was excluded.

And in last years playoff selection, both the Big Ten and Pac-12 were left out since the committee elected to go with Georgia and Alabama, two SEC schools, along with Clemson and Oklahoma.

That’s not even the biggest problem. We have schools like Central Florida who are undefeated and don’t even get a shot at competing for a national title, mostly because the committee favors teams with a tougher strength of schedule. The only Group of Five school that came close to even garnering consideration was Houston in 2016 when they managed to beat Oklahoma and Louisville in their non-conference games. Both opponents were No. 3 ranked at the time which gave Houston tons of momentum to be picked. But the Cougars managed to lose three games in their conference, which ultimately lost them all hope at being in the playoffs.

That being said, if a team like Central Florida was to go undefeated this year, would the committee vote against them again? They proved everyone wrong last year when they beat Auburn, a team that beat college football champion Alabama and runner-up Georgia in the regular season, in their bowl game.

So why leave them out this year? The CFP committee can avoid this problem by expanding the playoff and featuring all Power 5 conference winners, 2 at-large or runner-ups in those conferences, and then one Group of Five team like Central Florida or North Texas if that’s possible. I think this would benefit college football as whole because bowl games are declining. We just don’t view them as important anymore, so we should put more of an emphasis on how we can make the playoffs right for everyone.

This can benefit North Texas tremendously for the coming years. If the Mean Green were able to finish this season undefeated, they could’ve got looked at by the committee. And if you were to take the North Texas win against Arkansas into consideration, it wouldn’t have had that much of an effect, since Arkansas is currently one of the lowest ranked teams in the SEC. Certainly the win made North Texas notable, but I don’t think it would’ve been enough for them to make the four team playoff.

Now throw in the eight-team format I just mentioned and North Texas and Central Florida could be the two teams fighting for that Group of Five spot. While I believe that more teams in the playoffs would benefit college football, it’s something that probably won’t come into consideration for the next few years.

Featured Image: CFB Playoff trophy. Courtesy Facebook.

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Deondre Jones

Deondre Jones

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