College Football Playoff: We are four more teams

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This year marks the start of the new College Football Playoff to determine a national champion.

Matt Grabianski and Scott Lenz, Staff Writer and Sports Editor

Baylor. Mississippi. UCLA. Three teams that, so far this college football season, have a combined record of 24-5. Yet, with this extremely restrictive number of four teams that make up the newly installed playoff, its likely that none of them will have a chance at the national title. While the newly implemented NCAA Division One Playoff is an improvement upon the previous format, including only four teams is just not enough.There are too many excellent teams that miss out on the opportunity to hoist the trophy in January. Due to the limited amount of games played in a season, we do not get the chance to see up and coming teams square off against established powerhouses. The current College Football Playoff structure should be improved by increasing the number of teams that get the chance to compete for a national championship.

All other major sports structure their playoffs in a format that includes more teams than NCAA Division One. The NFL has three times the amount of teams in their playoffs as the NCAA.  Around 17 percent of all NFL teams get to contend for the championship in January, compared to less than one percent of all Division One college football teams that currently get a chance for a championship. Two of the three major professional sports, the NHL and NBA, have playoff systems that include 16 teams with 53 percent of all teams included. With a playoff format slightly smaller than that of the NHL and NBA, Major League Baseball allows 10 teams to continue to the postseason, with 33 percent of teams vying for the trophy. The NCAA’s other major sport – basketball – has 64 teams in its playoff bracket, 16 times the prohibitive College Football Playoff number of just four. That’s around 18 percent of teams that make the final bracket, a much greater amount than the measly one percent. Since all these other very successful sports organizations have a larger number and greater percentage of playoff teams, it would only make sense for the NCAA to expand their format to include more than four schools.

 

While many hold the opinion that increasing the size of the bracket could allow untested teams to compete in the playoffs, this gives them a chance to prove themselves against the nation’s top programs. Teams should not be kept out of the playoffs just because their schedule strength is weaker than that of other schools with similar records. Those programs ranked in positions five through ten will be disappointed come the end of the season despite their extraordinary performances.

Although some skeptics assert that there isn’t time in the bowl season to include these extra games, the current system uses the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl as semi-final games. By incorporating other major bowl games that are played each year into the playoff format, the NCAA can allow more teams to compete without increasing the number of competitions. To avoid any potential issues that could arise due to the physical strains of playing multiple consecutive playoff games, the games can be spread through the entirety of the bowl season.

The College Football Playoff should be expanded beyond just four teams. This change will allow potential contenders who haven’t had the opportunity to compete against established powerhouses a chance to prove themselves as championship contenders. The NCAA needs to follow the example set by other prominent college and professional sports by increasing both the number of teams in the postseason and, subsequently, the percentage of teams that make it. In order to crown the true champion of Division One college football, the pool of playoff teams must be increased.