Time for 8 Team Expansion
How to Expand the College Football Playoff
December 11, 2016
compiled by Prez Ro
follow back at @PrezRo365
As the subject states… it’s time to expand the College Football Playoff (CFP) from 4-teams to 8 like immediately!
Building Men & Women via Athletics
It’s the third College Football Playoff season rankings and Bill Hancock, the CFP’s executive director, reiterated that the system is working. “We are confident,” Hancock said Sunday, “that four is the right number.”
Is it? The Big Ten Champion is out of the playoffs… Big 12 leader is out… Undefeated Western Michigan is out…. but it’s working?
He went on to say “I don’t anticipate any discussion about expansion.” In a word, INTERESTING!!!!
So, wouldn’t you say eight teams would be much more solid as well as fun for the students! And it seems that the majority of fans want the playoff to expand! And every playoff in every major American sport has eventually grown bigger!
Speaking December 7th at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, Emmert said he prefers an eight-team format that includes automatic bids for champions of each Power Five conference.
And in case you didn’t know, NCAA Commissioner, Mark Emmert, doesn’t have control over the College Football Playoff format — the NCAA doesn’t run the Football Bowl Subdivision postseason and they always remind you of that — but “if” he did, he’d expand it to eight teams in a heartbeat.
However, as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany noted on Wednesday, the field selection this year did not provide any movement toward an eight-team playoff. In so many words he shared ‘the tires have been kicked on an eight-team playoff, casually or otherwise, even before major college football had a four-team playoff. With the three-year-old postseason format paying out hefty sums of money, one can venture to guess expansion is coming at some point in the future.’
Why eight teams? Many believe, including the staff at Amateur Sports, eight is the sweet spot for the college football playoff: more national representation but not too much, and only one more round of competition. Even further…. win your conference (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, MAC, Big 12, PAC12, *AAC or *Sun Belt) and you are in – PERIOD!!! With one spot for a solid wildcard (highest ranked teams remaining including independent teams like Navy and Notre Dame, etc).
* best overall record between these two conference determines who’s in…
The case for expansion…
For the first two years of the playoff, one thing looked abundantly clear: winning your conference championship was important and all eight playoff teams in those two years were conference champs. But this year, Penn State messed things up by winning the Big Ten championship. Suddenly, the qualifying statements perpetuated by the “CYA” mission of selecting the “four best teams” began pouring in. Then came along the dialogue about the resumes between Penn State and Ohio State, which were not close but they won when they had to based on their schedule.
To be clear, this isn’t to say those statements are wrong. In many ways they’re right. But can anyone remember this much dismissing of conference titles last year? How about the year before? Funny how it emerges when it’s the team no one expects winning the conference.
And let’s not forget the efforts of Western Michigan who went undefeated including winning the MAC championship, and they are out too.
Additionally, two things fans love about March Madness take effect. There’s the Cinderella story, which would have been Western Michigan this year, and the team with the hot hand. No one denies that early-season losses by Oklahoma and USC matter, but it’s also true they aren’t the same teams now as they were in September. Expanding to eight at least allows for greater consideration of this.
The macro point here is that the first three seasons of the playoff have been filled with inconsistencies. Fans see this on a week-to-week basis with the mock rankings selection show. “Body clocks” is a pass one week and “game control” is a criterion the next. Flexibility is the beauty of having a human committee. It’s also what makes it extraordinarily frustrating. Having the Power Five conference champions as automatic bids absolutely takes away the drama, but it also takes away a lot of the frustration.
What would an eight-team playoff look like this season? This exercise is part reality and part subjectivity.
To acknowledge the selection committee members, we will use their top four: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Washington.
Now, the fun part: we pick the next four!
They are as follows: No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Western Michigan, No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 Oklahoma. Despite a 39-point loss at Michigan Stadium, Penn State is ahead of the Wolverines because of its overall profile (wins over Ohio State, Wisconsin, Temple and Iowa) and conference championship.
Unfortunately, the first four out would be USC, Wisconsin, Florida State, and Colorado. USC is very close to Oklahoma to us even though they didn’t win their conference or division but has two better wins — Washington and Colorado — than anything on Oklahoma’s résumé. Plus, outside of Alabama, USC is the team no one wants to play.
Here’s how our hypothetical eight-team playoff would look this year.
NOTE: With the team with the higher ranking “host” to game on their home field.
No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (10-2)
No. 2 Clemson (12-1) vs. No. 7 Michigan (10-2)
No. 3 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 6 Western Michigan (13-0)
No. 4 Washington (12-1) vs. No. 5 Penn State (11-2)
NOTE: Losers are then slotted to the “already” predetermined bowl games ~click here for details on that. Notice in the column of team selection how it states conference and place in the standings.
Now to be fair, there is a case against expansion expanding…
What do you want to reward? The best team in tournament play at the time of the tournament, or the best team in the land?
In the modern era of college football, championships have been won by teams with superior talent and excellent coaching. Each year, you could make an argument that only about 13-16 teams in the country will fit that description at the beginning of the year, and many of those teams will fall from title contention because of injuries or ill-timed poor play. If the playoff is expanded, you gain the element of postseason drama but risk losing a worthy champion because of a bad break. Often you hear let’s leave the “Cinderella story” to college basketball and let college football crown its king with the four best teams in the country.
I also think expanding the playoffs would require increasing the scholarship limit or cutting back on the number of regular-season games. Expanding the playoff would decrease the urgency for conference championship weekend for teams that were “locks,” like Ohio State was heading into Selection Sunday this season.
I’m not great at math, but scholarships cost money, cutting regular season or conference title games means less money, and there isn’t enough impetus for this current crop of conference commissioners to go through the headache or reworking the letter of the law without knowing more regarding the future of finances (media rights) in college football.
Regardless of the “so-called” obstacles, isn’t it about the “student-athlete” and their efforts on the field? And these athletes can only play who’s on the schedule and in front of them. We also believe the NCAA should “own” one floating week on ALL D1 schedules each year, which they can force teams to play a real, out of conference competitor, but that’s in an upcoming article – Stay tune. We digress…
In the end, we’re going to watch and debate, but respectively speaking, it’s time to reward overall achievement not what we think will happen.
For fun, here is a 16-team playoff by our friends at SEC country – whew!… click here!
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