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Your Eight Team Playoff Scenario Sucks - Let’s Go Back To the BCS


SEC Championship - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The College Football Playoff teams are set.

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma.

Did the committee get it right?

Yes. They got it right.

Georgia didn’t deserve to be in the playoff because they are a two-loss team. They lost to the two best teams they played, and one of those teams - LSU - beat them by three touchdowns. Bottom line - they lost. They had a 14-point lead over Alabama. They lost. Had they won, they would have been in. They lost. How some people (ESPN, perhaps?) can’t understand this is beyond me.

Ohio State lost. They lost badly to an unranked opponent 49-20 earlier in the season. Purdue beat the snot of out of them like Iowa did the year before when they missed the playoff. Hence, they lost - badly.

Oklahoma lost. They lost to Texas for earlier in the season in a rivalry game. They came back later and beat Texas in the championship game. Beating the opponent you lost to earlier makes up for losing - not entirely, but just enough to get you past Georgia and Ohio State.

The teams selected for the four-team playoff are so clear-cut I don’t know why there’s any problem with it unless you want to stir up controversy. Stirring up controversy leads to web hits and web hits lead to popularity. It’s easy to understand why that happens.

College football fans are upset that their favorite conference was left out of this year’s playoff. The Big Ten conference didn’t make the playoffs for the third straight year. That seems like forever. Pac 12 fans are in roughly the same position, but there don’t seem to be many around.

Fans want things to be “fairer”. It appears the easiest way to advocate for fairness within the current system is to advocate expanding the playoff system to eight teams. Most eight-team playoff scenarios propose the Power Five conference winners are invited along with the best Group of Five member, such as UCF, and then two at-large teams. The “at-large” teams would be selected by a committee, no doubt the same type committee and configuration currently in use.

There are many problems with the eight-team playoff.

Let’s start with the “group of five” component. It should be obvious by now that the powers who run college football will not allow a Group of Five team to take part in a playoff system because they don’t want to share revenue. The current playoff system has nothing to do with fairness. It is capitalism. If it had to do with fairness, we’d work out a more equitable solution were college football players were compensated (notice I did not say “paid) more for their services and coaches got paid a little less.

It’s doubtful an eight-team playoff will happen soon because of the revenue sharing situation and because the four-team playoff system is under contract until 2025.

Most people who put who advocate for an eight-team playoff haven’t put a lot of thought into what they will get down the road.

Most eight-team playoff scenarios include eliminating conference games, then having the first round of the playoffs played at a team’s home field. This scenario would likely require the elimination of conference games so that the season would fit into the existing schedule. The elimination of conference title games will make it more challenging to determine conference champions unless you fall back on voting, human selection or statistics - all of which are fraught with subjectivity.

Take a moment and think about the “home-field advantage” component of the eight-team playoff proposal. Do you think that at any point within the next decade that a Big Ten team will be selected for home-field advantage over an SEC team? Do you think there is ever a chance that Alabama will go to play in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the middle of winter? Do you ever think the Florida Gators might play in Seattle, Washington? Columbus, Ohio? Lincoln, Nebraska?

The chances of an SEC team playing in the cold are so slim that you might as concede the first round of the playoff to the SEC because that’s where those first-round games are going to be played. Buckeye fans encountering LSU fans in Baton Rouge might be interesting, but beyond that, this is a stupid idea. Moving the first round of the playoffs to bowl sites would be roughly the same as having it at a warm-weather team’s home field.

The SEC well knows of this advantage and they will not give it up. They are also well aware that Jim Delany, current Big Ten commissioner, would be willing to screw his own conference out of

The best solution for the playoff puzzle would be to go back to the old BCS. In that scenario, we had two teams playing for a national title. Alabama and Clemson would play in this year’s BCS. Those two teams have established themselves as the best two teams in the nation. I don’t think anyone, but Notre Dame fans would argue if there was a BCS title game this season. Would you cry if you thought Notre Dame fans were being unfairly treated? I think not.

Unfortunately, we can’t go back BCS.

That’s not happening, as the college football powers that be have already bathed themselves in the massive US dollars brought in by the four-team playoff.

It’s too bad that we can’t have a football system that has fairness spread throughout. Players get fairly compensated. Coaches get paid. There are equal revenue opportunities for everyone. Teams have a salary cap and a limit on how much they can spend. Everyone has a fair shot at the playoff system. They have access to better players as a way to improve themselves if they are terrible.

There is a football league that has these rules in place. It’s called the NFL.

If you want a system where everything is fair perhaps you should watch the NFL and leave college football the hell alone.