After watching Trevor Lawrence make two spectacular passes to Justyn Ross that ended Alabama’s historic season, it reminds us of the crazy moments that make college football so amazing. College football is one of the most watched sports leagues in the United States, and every season has its crazy moments that will never be forgotten.
However, having all of the hype and nuttiness of the college football season end with a playoff season that allows just four teams playing for a national championship is almost an insult to fans, as well as a blatant insult to some teams. A college football playoff of eight teams would create more balanced playoff picture as well as a better fan experience.
It’s always those two teams. It seems like every year there are two teams that seem to have “just missed” the playoffs or have been screwed by the playoff committee, and in the past two years, one of those teams has been the Ohio State Buckeyes. They managed to have a one game slip up in the middle of the season which cost them their chances of competing for a championship. While this may drive Buckeye fans to madness, it shows one of the things I like about the current playoff format: in order to compete for a national championship, a team needs a near perfect season. This means no mistakes against unranked opponents, and basically makes two loss teams unable to even be in the conversation. All the regular season games count, so teams have to play at full throttle in every game in order to make it to January.
However, this comes at a tradeoff; some teams do everything they can and still do not make the playoffs. This is the part you have all been waiting for where I talk about the University of Central Florida. In case you either don’t follow college football or just live under a rock, the UCF had an undefeated season in each of the last two years, yet still didn’t get the nod to make it to the dance. The main reasoning for this is UCF’s weak strength of schedule, with only playing one Power-Five team in Pitt, and only one top 25 win over Cincinnati. The weak schedule isn’t the players fault. These guys go out on the field and give it their all every single week to try to make it to the playoffs, and they can’t make it because of something that is entirely out of their control is just a travesty. If the playoff picture expanded to eight teams, you would have more teams like UCF that have done all they could to make it in.
Another great thing about having an eight team playoff would be that conference championships would matter more. It’s called the “Power-Five” conferences for a reason, that is they contain the premier teams of college football, and only having four (many times less than that) of the five conferences just plain sucks. It makes fans not care as much knowing their conference is not even represented. If expanded to eight teams, the field could contain the conference champions of each of the power five, plus the three next best teams. This could include either the next best team in each conference, or non power five teams like the aforementioned UCF.
Finally, something that every college football fan would love, is if home field advantage played a role in this newly expanded playoff. One of the arguments against expanding to an eight team playoff is that then the top four teams would have no real advantages. However, if the first round of the playoff would be played at home for the higher seed, it would create a huge advantage over the lesser seeded teams that would give teams incentive to work for those top spots in the playoff rankings. Also from a fan’s point of view, there would be no better atmosphere for a college football playoff game then if played at home. Just imagine a playoff game in Ann Arbor, the whordes of tailgaters and waves of blue and gold coming to cheer on their teams would be a sight to never forget.
Also, eight teams means more football, which I’m sure everyone can get behind.