Is Four Enough?
Our first ever semi-final games for the College Football Playoff are in the books, and the champion will be crowned on January 12, between (4)Ohio State and (2)Oregon. Both teams looked great in their victories, and showed the nation why they deserve to be in the championship game, with Oregon blasting the defending national champions Florida State in the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State upsetting top seeded Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. In fact, the numbers in viewers for these games take the top two spots ever in cable broadcast shows. Ohio State versus Alabama takes the number one spot with 28.2 million viewers, and Oregon versus Florida State takes the second spot with 28.1 millions viewers. With the exception of the states of Alabama and Florida, it is expected that the numbers will be close to that for the championship game. This helps show that the first four team selected for the first ever playoff were the correct ones. I know we still have not crowned the champion for the 2014 season yet, but there is still the question is four teams enough?There has been a lot of talk about expanding the playoffs to eight teams, even twelve or sixteen. In my opinion, which is not reflective of the opinions of the entirety of Buckeye50, I think an eight-team playoff would be ideal, and explain how I would set it up. Baylor and TCU were the first two out for the playoff, ranking fifth and sixth respectively, and also had a solid argument to be in the playoff as they shared the Big 12 title, but Baylor having the head to head advantage. Mississippi State and Michigan State rounded out the top eight teams, but both teams had two losses and were not conference champions, but still were good teams. Now that we have bowl season pretty much wrapped up, I would like to reflect on what could have been this season if there were an eight-team playoff in place.
I will start with the Cotton Bowl, which felt like a playoff game, between Baylor and Michigan State. That game went back and forth, and Michigan State made a dramatic finish to win the game. Next would be TCU, which dominated Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. Mississippi State lost to Georgia Tech, who was ranked 12th by the Playoff Committee. Lets not forget though Boise State, which had an impressive win against Arizona, who was second in the PAC 12. I would like to see the playoff expand to eight teams, with the conference champions as tie ins, two at large teams from the Power 5 (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC 12, SEC, along with Notre Dame) and then the top team from the Group of 5 (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, and Sun Belt). Based on the results of these games, imagine if these were the eight teams in the playoff:
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Boise State
Alabama is a great team with a great coach, but could have been ranked second behind Oregon. Oregon has looked dominant behind Heisman Trophy Winner Marcus Mariota, and redeemed their loss to Arizona in the PAC 12 Championship Game. Florida State came in as the only undefeated team, and defending National Champions. Ohio State has overcome adversity all season and shut out Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. Baylor has given TCU it’s lone loss, and has a high-powered offense. TCU is one of the most improved teams in the country, and overcame a few close calls. Michigan State’s two losses have come to the two teams now playing in the National Championship game. Boise State is the best of the Group of 5. All of these teams have legitimate cases to have a shot at the national championship.
Now, I know that every season is different, and this season definitely included some issues with the Power 5 conferences champions having either zero or only one loss with only four spots, but this is where I think eight is enough. I think the more teams you add will muddle up the teams that are deserving, and I know there will still be some issues, but I think this is the best scenario for the playoff moving forward. With eight teams, you could have the first round be on the Friday and Saturday the weekend before Christmas, with the highest ranked teams playing at home. The second round will be on New Years Day, like it was this year, and then make the championship game on the second Monday of the month.
With the results of this seasons bowl games, I think there could be a strong argument for an eight-team playoff, and this would allow the best possible teams to be represented. Even if there was a conference champion with two or three losses, they would be one of the lower seeded teams. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am happy how this year worked out, and enjoyed the games. For this year, four was enough, as we got to see what the playoffs have done for college football. But I also think we can see it changing to eight teams in the next three to five years.
By Josh Watson