Expand the College Football Playoff Already!

Here’s the thing about college football: I want more of it.

Not just more games, though, because who actually enjoys seeing these big perennial powers playing some FCS school from some Iowa cornfield? What I want are more games in the College Football Playoff. I want more games like Clemson vs. Alabama (part I or II, both were great), I want more games like Ohio State vs. Alabama (2015 Sugar Bowl), Clemson vs. Oklahoma (2016 Orange Bowl). Those games were competitive to the very end, and as a result, they’re classic games that will be remembered for quite some time.

Mind you, just because a game is a blowout doesn’t make it a bad game. Case in point: Clemson vs. Ohio State (2016-2017 Fiesta Bowl) was a good game, but the 31-0 score in Clemson’s favor makes the game look more lopsided than it actually was. Anyway, my point is that the CFP needs to be expanded.

So, the first rebuttal that I usually hear when I bring this up is that the athletes are “students first,” and that the last thing they need is to play yet another football game. To that I say that they are there to play football for the school; there is a reason it is called an athletic scholarship. That said, however, I think people who say this have a point. Maybe sixteen games, for the two teams that would play in the championship game, is too much.

So what I’m thinking is this: regulate the regular season! By this, I mean that all the Power 5 conferences (PAC-12, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, and ACC) should play nine conference games. The Big 12, PAC-12, and ACC already play nine games, and the Big 10 are due to move to that format shortly, which leaves the SEC in the dust. If all the major conferences play nine conference games, they should all have a conference championship. As of this writing, the only conference without one is the BIG 12, but they’re fixing that soon. This gives all the teams a fair schedule and a path to the CFP.

Next, I think that the regular season should be shortened, and the NCAA should ban FBS schools from playing FCS schools. So, if the regular season is eleven games (shortened from twelve) with nine conference games, there are still two opportunities for these schools to showcase what they can do against the other conferences. This would make it so that the two teams that play for the championship only play fifteen games, the same number they currently do. With pressure from the CFP selection committee on these schools to schedule tougher opponents (by including strength of schedule in their ranking method) the two games in which the teams can control who they play will be great match-ups. You don’t think so? Let me call attention to the opening weekend of the 2016-2017 season, which was dubbed “The Greatest Opening Weekend Ever.”

Now that the regular season is taken care of, I say that we talk about the actual expansion of the CFP. Let’s double its size, from four teams to eight. This means that there will be four quarterfinal games and two semifinals. The current playoff system calls for the cyclical use of the six bowl games known as the “New Year’s Six,” so I propose that they maintain that process, but this time use the other four bowls as the quarterfinals.

Look, I’m gonna keep it short, but I think that the College Football Playoff is in desperate need of an expansion. I can live with the current playoff system, but if anyone at the NCAA is listening, I eagerly await more.

[Ed. Note – there’s a joke about the spirit of magis somewhere in here.]

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