Why the College Football Playoff Shouldn't Be Expanded
The College Football Playoff’s board of managers held a vote back in September in order to try and expand the Playoff from four teams to twelve. The vote passed unanimously, erasing the 4 team playoff format in 2024 and raising the debate of the pros and cons this system could provide for the sport.. While most people believe that the Playoff needed to be expanded, I believe the expansion never should’ve happened in the first place.
We can start with the impatience of college football fans. Their neglect of systems in the past makes me feel like this isn’t a permanent solution, which is exactly what the committee set out to do in the first place. The BCS system had only been running the sport for 14 years until it was cut off, and the 4 team playoff will come to an end in 2024, making it only 10 years old. If the fans keep this trend up, where will it end? Maybe in 2050, we will have 64 teams. The temporary solutions won’t work. They never have and they never will.
People want to expand because a lot of quality teams missed the playoff in past years that some believe should’ve gotten in. TCU in the inaugural playoff, Penn State in 2017. The controversial final spot is an issue in the 4 team playoff. However, that doesn’t mean the final spot in a 12 team playoff won’t be controversial. No matter how many teams the playoff expands to, that will not eliminate controversy from the 12th spot. There will still be teams left out, therefore controversy will remain. Even in March Madness (a 64 team tournament), the final spot is always controversial for the teams on the bubble, and you could make an argument for any team that got left out. This system will fail to eliminate controversy no matter how many teams get in.
College football has the most entertaining regular season in sports without question. Every game is huge in a team’s road to the playoff and if you lose just one or two games, you are most likely out of contention. No two loss team has ever made the playoff and that just gives coaches even more of an incentive to go undefeated. But now, with the new system, you can lose 2 or 3 three games before you have to worry about missing the playoffs. It devalues the regular season. Games that decide playoff teams are merely just “another game” instead. Last season, Number 5 Georgia faced Number 3 Clemson in one of the biggest games of the season. Georgia walked away victorious, winning 10-3, and pretty much eliminating Clemson from playoff contention. However, in the new system, that enormous Top 5 matchup is just “another game.” Every game means something and with this new era, these games won’t matter nearly as much.
People say 4 teams is too little but that is the point. If you want to crown a true champion, you don’t pick the 12 best teams. You pick the teams that can contend with anybody and have the talent to win the national championship. 4 teams is the perfect benchmark for that and this new plan is taking the number of teams way too far.