Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Expanded CFP

The call for an expanded college playoff is getting louder in a few places, mostly in places where people feel that their team got robbed.

Okay, mostly in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

What has passed quietly by is the fact that every single one of the top eight teams had a chance to play their way in. In other words, we had an expanded playoff and all but one team has no complaints. And that team would have no complaints had they not lost to Pitt and Michigan (by 473 or something I think it was).

The top 4 (Alabama, Clemson, OSU, and Washington) made it in by winning games.

Take the next four in the previous CFP Poll.

#5 Michigan would have been a top four with a win at OSU. They lost. They don’t get to go on. You don’t get redos.

#6 Wisconsin played #7 Penn State. This is arguably the team that got robbed because the winner didn’t make it. My previous comments stand true that it had to be a big win, and it wasn’t. Of course, they lost to Pitt and lost bigly to Michigan. But they had a chance to play their way in and didn’t get it done.

#8 Colorado played Washington and lost. They don’t get to go on.

The consensus, correct I believe, is that the CFP got the best four teams. The teams that didn’t make it all have blemishes that prevented them from making it.

So an expanded playoff took place this year. It worked just like it should have.

There is also a renewed call for having to win your conference to get in to the CFP. This is mostly coming from Penn State, but others are chiming in as well.

Someone that I can’t recall pointed out last night that Penn State better be careful what they wish for. There is a good chance that they could go 11-1 next year with their only loss being a close game at OSU who goes on to win the B1G. I think that is the most likely scenario for next season for both teams.

And that means Penn State’s chance next year requires the ability for the committee to jump over conference champions for better teams.

In other words, the very thing Penn State wants now is the thing that will hang them next year.

I am mixed on both of these issues.

I go back and forth on whether an eight team playoff would be good. This year it worked out fine. Next year it might not.

I think an expanded playoff devalues the regular season. Michigan would have gone to OSU knowing it didn’t matter whether they won or lost; they were in either way most likely (even with the Iowa embarrassment). While a rivalry game is always big, it is less big when you don’t have to win to be the national champion.

An expanded playoff devalues the conference title games. Why play a game if all the conference winners get in anyway?

However, an eight-team playoff would give some room in seasons where teams don’t play each other, or where a deserving conference champion loses out.

Speaking of conference champions, I think there is a strong case to be made that you can’t be the national champion unless you are first a conference champion. And by and large, I think that is true. OSU should have won against Penn State, and perhaps would have except for a call or two that went against them. (Remember Meyer’s tirades about officiating? Yeah, me neither.) But OSU seems a better team than Penn State.

If the NCAA goes to an eight team playoff, perhaps they need to do away with conference title games.

In the end, college football is good because of the debates that take place. There will always be questions about whether Michigan, or Colorado, or Oklahoma, or Penn State could have beaten Clemson, or Ohio State, or Washington in a playoff. There might even be a few debates about whether any of these teams could beat Alabama. Those debates will mostly involve people too drunk to speak clearly.

In the end, we have the four best teams. Let’s line up and play football.

1 comment:

Frank Sansone said...


I know this is an old post, but I don't understand your comments about Conference Championship games being LESS meaningful. I would expect it to be the opposite.

In my expanded playoff scenario, you cannot go to the CFP without first winning your conference championship, after all, how can you be the best team in the country without being the best team in your conference? So the Power 5 (B1G, Big 12, SEC, ACC, Pac-12) champions form 5 of the 8 teams. The other three slots are reserved for the best teams from non-power conferences. (Could have some type of automatic formula for this based on strength of conference or could do some type of playoff among the lesser conferences and independents - i believe there are currently 5 lesser conferences and some independents you could take the 5 conference champions and the best independent and have them play to earn the other 3 slots in the playoffs).

Just my thoughts.