College football has undergone an overhaul in its championship chase yet still isn’t what the sport needs. When we were in the BCS era, people complained that there should be more teams with a shot, and that computers couldn’t accurately measure who should be playing in the title game. On to the four team playoff system we went.
Critics got the expanded playoff with a human element but with no set criteria for teams qualifying for the playoff we’re stuck in the situation as what the BCS offered. Now we have arguments over the fourth and fifth ranked teams as well as over the last two years, an undefeated UCF team and their qualifications for the playoff.
As it stands now, we’re back in the voting era where the popular team who the press and computers view as the “best” might as well be crowned champs at the beginning of the season. If every sport determined their champion like college football, NC State never would have even played Houston, the Cavs and Lebron wouldn’t have taken the court against the Warriors, and David Tyree would be irrelevant to the Giants.
The NCAA should put a premium on winning your conference instead of “quality” of schedule or opponents. Obviously teams such as UCF probably wouldn’t finish 12-0 if they played in the SEC but they did go undefeated against the teams they did play and won the AAC. My suggestion to improve the playoff into something we anticipated and brought as much excitement as the NFL playoffs would be an expansion to 8 with a few requirements.
- Teams must join a conference (Notre Dame!) to be eligible for playoff
- All teams play an 11 game regular season schedule with 9 conference games and cannot play FCS teams
- All Power 5 conference winners, Highest ranked Group of 5 champ, and 2 at-large bids
This might not be the perfect scenario but it will put a premium on conference championships, allow for some unexpected results, and increase the likelihood we see some more parody in college. As much as I love College football, the championship system is still weak and based on opinion. So I say, “Make it Eight to be great!”