Opinion: College Football Playoff Expansion

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As college football fans await the official season opener for the 2019-2020 season, many feel confident about where their team stands against others. On August 24, 2019, the NCAA football season will kick off and over one-hundred teams will battle through their schedule to try to earn a top spot in the playoffs. However, currently, only four teams are allowed in the final four playoff spots. This means that more than four teams can go undefeated and still not be rewarded a playoff position. If this scenario does happen, the official playoff committee, or a group of sports analysts who decide the playoff seedings, would have to base the rankings on the strength of schedule. In my opinion, expanding the College Football Playoffs to ten teams would create more of a variety of teams involved and keep fans intrigued.

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
Expanding the College Football Playoffs to ten teams would create more of a variety of teams involved and keep fans intrigued.

As of writing this article, two teams have made the payoffs three or more years since the 2014-2015 season. The Alabama Crimson Tide has made the playoffs all four years, winning two championships and the Clemson Tigers has also won two championships in the three years that they have earned a spot in the playoffs. Alabama and Clemson have lost only two regular season games each in those four years. It is fair to say that these two power-house teams have dominated the NCAA postseason, but how can the committee balance the competition?

Expanding the playoff to ten teams can create a drastic difference. Not only will fans be more intrigued by the different variety of teams, but their team will also have a higher chance to earn a top spot. Teams like Michigan, Penn State, Ohio St, LSU, and Georgia will have more room for mistakes during their tough schedule. Kirk Herbstreit, an ESPN sports analyst, is in favor of an eight team playoff. “I think college football is still a sport where fans really feel urgency every week. I’m a fan of all sports – college basketball, MLB, NFL – and as a fan, the only sport I feel every week I feel urgency is college football.” Again, as Kirk says, every single week matters in college football when trying to go for those top four spots, but with a ten team playoff, a loss or two is forgiven. Furthermore, teams like UCF and Notre Dame, which do not have a very tough schedules and usually go undefeated, can be given a chance as well. Although these teams would be a lower seed, they would still be rewarded a chance to win the championship.

Finally, ten different teams on neutral fields can create upsets. Those who are favored to win, like Alabama or Clemson, can be beaten unexpectedly by teams like Michigan, Notre Dame, or Penn State. The possibilities of outcomes will be different every year. Reflecting on the idea of a college football playoff expansion, I believe that  it will better the fans’ perspective of the league and the teams’ chances of making the postseason.

In order for the playoffs of college football to be intriguing for the fans and fair for all teams, the playoff committee must make a new playoff tournament with at least ten teams. Teams with harder schedules then others will be forgiven after one loss. Those with an easier schedule must go undefeated to qualify. With more than four of the best teams in the nation, upsets are bound to happen. Taking all of this together will surely improve NCAA’s college football as a whole.