Ten years ago, a college football playoff was only a pipe dream. The thought of a playoff was only a topic buddies talked about in a bar. Now we have a playoff committee that decides who gets the chance to go to the playoffs. Who would have ever thought we’d get to this point?
While the four-team playoff is good, it’s not perfect. You know what would be perfect? An eight-team playoff. You might be thinking that if we give people eight, everyone will want ten, maybe even twelve. And then before you know it the tournament will have evolved into a March Madness style abomination.
How It Would Work
Eight teams would make it into the new College Football Playoff. Five of the eight spots would be reserved for the Power Five conference champions. This does two things:
- It makes winning your conference much more important.
- It eliminates the argument about a one loss team who didn’t make their conference title, or a two loss conference champion.
The final three spots would be at large bids. These spots could go to the teams that just missed out on their conference title, the independents, and the Group Five schools. As it stands right now, no Group Five school is going to even come close to sniffing a four team playoff, but the committee could give them the 8 seed and have them face off against the best conference champion.
Once we have our eight teams, the next issue we would need to solve is where the teams are going to play? The answer is very simple. The top four seeds would play at home with the lower four seeds traveling. The playoff committee won’t have to worry about tie-ins to certain bowls, and we can keep the semi-final games as scheduled.
The first round of the playoffs would take place two weeks after the conference title games. This gives teams enough time to prep for their opponents and to make travel arrangements. The games would be played the third week in December, which means that everyone could get home before Christmas. This also provides the bowl slate with a few great early games. ESPN, FOX, CBS, and ABC will all get to host a bowl game on their own Network throughout the day, or make two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday.
After the first round of games have been played, we would take another two weeks off to play the semi-final games on January 2nd. This way the big time New Year’s Day bowl games won’t be affected by the playoff games, and fans can still enjoy those classic matchups. After the semi-final games, the championship game would be played a week later, and just like that, we would be done with the college football playoff.
Why It Would Work
The reason this plan works is simple. It takes a lot of pressure off of the committee. The lesson that we’ve all learned from the first few years of the College Football playoff is that it’s really hard to find the best four teams. How many of you haven’t believed at least once that the best four teams did not get in?
Do you know what’s even easier than trying to find the four best teams? Finding eight really good teams. Usually the top two or three teams in college football will separate themselves from the rest of the pack. It can get a little murky for the other teams, but people usually find it easier to agree on the top ten teams.
Making conference championship games matter also helps out the committee because they already have five guaranteed spots, all they have to do is figure out three at-large bids. Conference championship games should matter. Alabama and Ohio State have benefited from not playing in their own conference title game. This was essentially a bye week for those teams, which isn’t really fair for the other teams that made it to their respective conference championship games, even if they lost.
Having the first round playoff games being hosted by the higher seeded teams rewards those teams even more for having a great season. This also gives fans an additional home game, creating extra revenue for those schools and conferences. It also just makes scheduling way easier than trying to tie in these first round games to bowl games.
Why The NCAA Should Adopt The 8 Team Playoff ASAP
Adopting the eight team playoff will make everyone’s lives easier. That should be the goal, to make the committee’s lives as easy as possible because we’ve seen that they can overthink and ignore the obvious. With this new system the only problem they have to solve is who gets the three at-large bids. That’s it.
The fans will love the fact that more teams get in and that we have more college football games to watch. The schools, conferences, and television networks will love it because they all make more money by having more games. It’s an easy solution.