College football needs a real playoff system

After watching the NCAA division 1-A (call it FBS if you want, but it shouldn’t be called that anymore) football semi-final games it has become plainly obvious that college football needs a true playoff system to determine its national champion. Even people that just consider themselves “casual” college football fans were taking about Oregon beating Florida State in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State beating Alabama in the Sugar bowl in the semi-final games. When you consider that most of the other bowl games barely got talked about–other than Baylor’s incredible choke job against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl–it’s as if those bowl games didn’t mean anything. That’s because they don’t.

Unfortunately the people that run the bowl system control what goes on in college football’s “post season”. Now I know in many locations I’ve called the NCAA one of the most corrupt sports organizations on the planet, but compared to the cabal that runs the bowl system the NCAA looks like a totally legitimate organization. The bowl cabal is not inclined to have a real playoff system, and has only been forced to have what they have now by public opinion. It’s time for the NCAA to get involved and just set one up. The TV money will most certainly be more than what teams currently get from the bowl cabal.

(Side note: this blog post was typed Saturday morning. According to ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz Saturday evening, the TV ratings for the Sugar Bowl and Rose bowl were posted and they were the two most watched cable programs of all time.)

The fallacy that a playoff system would get in the way of academics is laughable. Most of these football playoff games would take place while the players on break from school. March Madness takes place while school is in session and no one says a word. Even funnier, each of the lesser divisions of college football have a championship playoff system. I guess it’s OK for the actual football “student athletes” to miss school, which they don’t really, but not for division 1-A colleges. It’s to the point of ludicrously the reasoning behind not having a 16 team playoffs.

It’s even more laughable when someone says that no mater how many you pick the first team that didn’t make it would be complaining no matter how many you select so the number of teams isn’t important, noting that when 36 at-large teams are picked for March madness there are “experts” that list the three or four schools that should have made it but didn’t. Really? If you’re not one of the top 36 at large schools how about winning more often so you’re not #37? The same holds true when picking 16 teams for a true college football playoff. Yeah, the 17th ranked team might get a little angry about it, but now they’ll get a prime bowl game to play in as a consolation prize.

Choosing the 16 teams to play is actually pretty easy. Just use the system currently in place that picks the top 4. It lists down to #25, so just take the top 16 and go from there. This year we would have had first round games that look like this, at the higher seed:

#16 Missouri at #1 Alabama
#15 Arizona State at #2 Oregon
#14 UCLA at #3 Florida State
#13 Georgia at #4 Ohio State
#12 Georgia Tech at #5 Baylor
#11 Kansas State at #6 TCU
#10 Arizona at #7 Mississippi State
#9 Mississippi at #8 Michigan State

That’s a pretty impressive slate of games. And, if you played those games early enough in December you could even add the eight losing teams to the upcoming bowl games.

The only reason there’s no division 1-A college football championship is the greed of the cabal running the bowl games. It’s time the NCAA steps in and changes that.


2 thoughts on “College football needs a real playoff system

  1. This article proves it’s point, but it is just missing one detail. It still keeps teams from the Group of Five out of the mix. Teams like Houston, Cincinnati, Memphis, Boise can beat Power Five teams on any given day. We saw this when Boise beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta and Central Florida beat up Baylor.

    1. I don’t think it keeps anyone out of the mix. The problem is the non-Power 5 conferences don’t play a tough enough schedule. Using RPI (yeah, not a great indicator but one based solely on math) the highest non-Power 5 school is Houston at 18, and their SOS is 188. That’s just not good enough IMO.

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