Published Oct. 10, 2018
By William Whisler
Each week I check out fellow PennSports.Live columnist Tim Clark’s column, Tim’s Two Cents — and you should too! But on Tuesday, he provided the idea of an eight-team College Football Playoff.
The idea has floated around for some time, but he did nothing to change the criteria of what it takes to make the College Football Playoff — and created a scenario that doesn’t fix the flaws of the playoff today.
I have no problem with the eight-team playoff. In fact, I love it. But it must be done right. Clark created the final scenario with the idea that if things play out as they have thus far, the following could be the 2018 playoff picture:
No. 1 Alabama vs No. 8 UCF
No. 4 Clemson vs No. 5 Penn State
No. 3 Notre Dame vs No. 6 Georgia
No. 2 Ohio State vs No. 7 Texas
While this is definitely a great start — and a much better alternative than what we will be given in January — it is not the answer. The answer, however, is easy to fix.
THE PERFECT PLAYOFF SCENARIO
In order to create the perfect playoff scenario all of the Power 5 Conference Champions must be included in the playoff. That has to happen. One of the biggest flaws of the current system is that conference champions are sometimes left out because there are only four spots in the playoff. The current format gives the Top 4 conference champions a clear spot in the playoff, but in some situations, the committee must pick which one-loss conference champion it thinks is better — which is unacceptable.
In a perfect scenario, the playoff will consist of the following:
· Each of the Power 5 Conference Champions earning one of the Top 5 seeds
· Any undefeated teams left in the Non-Power 5 conferences earn a berth
· OR The best three teams ranked by the College Football Playoff committee that aren’t conference champions
The committee has always emphasized that the rankings are the most important thing for selecting the playoff field, which is fine. But by including the Power 5 Conference Champions, as well as any remaining undefeated teams, it would have presented a greater alternative.
While there are still flaws in the fact that the system cannot truly be perfect with the committee selecting the three teams, I think it’s a great way to fix the system. With my scenario, the College Football Playoff would have looked like this last season:
No. 1 Clemson (ACC Champ) vs No. 8 Wisconsin (At-large bid)
No. 2 Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ) vs No. 7 Alabama (At-large bid)
No. 3 Georgia (SEC Champ) vs No. 6 UCF (Undefeated team in non-power 5 conference)
No. 4 Ohio State (Big 10 Champ) vs No. 5 USC (Pac 12 Champ)
Nobody is arguing with this system. Each champion has earned a spot in the playoff and the remaining spots go to the top remaining teams in the rankings in the final week, with the undefeated teams earning an automatic berth ahead of the teams with losses. Auburn just misses out as it was ranked as one of the Top 3 remaining teams after the conference champions were seeded, but they lose out to UCF since the Golden Knights were undefeated. Oh, and UCF defeated Auburn in their Bowl Game following the 2017 season, further proving the point of the perfect system.
The scenario provides a perfect ability to crown a champion without much difficulty as far as grading resumes for conference championships, eliminating headaches for the committee in judging which conference champion is left out of the four-team field.
There is nothing out there hinting at a change to the current system. While it is not perfect, it is much better than the BCS Title Game. However, an eight-team playoff would be the best thing that the NCAA could do for college football fans. It would also do the one thing that would make the NCAA listen — increase revenue.
William Whisler is a columnist for PennSports.LIVE, as well as a 2018 graduate of Shippensburg University. Whisler served for three years as the sports editor of Shippensburg University’s student-run newspaper, The Slate, where he specialized as the beat writer for SU football and the SU men’s basketball team. Whisler has written for multiple publications including the Lewistown Sentinel, the Shippensburg News-Chronicle and The Gettysburg Times. Whisler is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communication studies at Shippensburg.