Monday, December 6, 2021

College Football Playoffs: A better idea

They announced the four teams in the college football playoffs yesterday, and nobody was happy. Okay, four fan bases were happy. But there were some fan bases that could legitimately claim that their team was one of the four best teams. 

Notre Dame fans feel their team was one of the four best, despite the loss to Cincinnati two months ago. Big XII champ Baylor's two losses were to Oklahoma State, who they beat for the championship in a rematch, and to Texas Christian on an interception with a minute left in the game. Ohio State didn't make the Big Ten title game on a tie-breaker, but has been impressive the last half of the season. Even Mississippi, with two losses, one to SEC champ Alabama and the other to bowl-bound Auburn, can claim to be one of the better teams. This may upset Cincinnati fans, but how many of the top ten ranked teams would have gone 13-0 with the schedule the Bearcats had? I'm thinking all of them.

Regardless, this is what we have. But what we actually have isn't what we should have.

Several of us online -- me and some family and friends with an online presence -- have been proponents of a 16-team playoff for several years. I'll lay out the case for it.

Keep in mind that there is talk of the CFP expanding. Almost all of the schools want that. The sticking point is how many teams make the playoffs. Currently, there are four. One faction wants eight, and another faction wants twelve. We'll probably get twelve, but when that happens is unknown. But twelve isn't enough, at least according to me and my friends.

With 12 teams, you'll have four teams with a first round bye. But there is still that round. Two-thirds of the teams will play one more round. That means if one of those makes the championship, they'll have played one extra game. Upping to 16 levels that. Everyone who makes the second round and beyond will have played the same number of games.

If you have 12, going to 16 won't extend the season at all, because the round already exists. The 12-team plan just has four teams sitting out the first round. So, it would be more fair to have 16 teams rather than 12.

The 12-team format also will call for six conference champions -- the Power 5/Autonomy 5 champions and the highest ranked of the other five -- and the six best of the rest. The 16-team format allows all ten conference champions to make the playoffs. Win the SEC? You're in. Win the MAC? You're in. Win your conference, and you're in. That still leave six spots.

The six at-large spots would be the best teams that didn't win their conference. In the seven years of the CFP prior to this season, four teams that did not win their conference made the playoffs -- Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame (twice) -- with one of those (Alabama) winning the championship.

I prefer that the ten conference champions get the top ten seeds, as a reward for winning their conference. That's how other football leagues do it, but we'll stick with the seeding of the CFP committee. It's more important to be in the field of 16 than where you are in the field of 16.

With that in mind, here's how the playoffs would look this year if they followed this plan:

  1. Alabama (SEC)
  2. Michigan (Big Ten)
  3. Georgia (At-large)
  4. Cincinnati (American)
  5. Notre Dame (At-large)
  6. Ohio State (At-large)
  7. Baylor (Big XII)
  8. Mississippi (At-large)
  9. Oklahoma State (At-large)
  10. Michigan State (At-large)
  11. Utah (Pac 12)
  12. Pittsburgh (ACC)
  13. Louisiana (Sun Belt)
  14. Texas-San Antonio (Conference USA)
  15. Utah State (Mountain West)
  16. Northern Illinois (Mid American)

If they put the ten conference champs as the top ten seeds, it would look like this:

  1. Alabama (SEC)
  2. Michigan (Big Ten)
  3. Cincinnati (American)
  4. Baylor (Big XII)
  5. Utah (Pac 12)
  6. Pittsburgh (ACC)
  7. Louisiana (Sun Belt)
  8. Texas-San Antonio (Conference USA)
  9. Utah State (Mountain West)
  10. Northern Illinois (Mid American)
  11. Georgia (At-large)
  12. Notre Dame (At-large)
  13. Ohio State (At-large)
  14. Mississippi (At-large)
  15. Oklahoma State (At-large)
  16. Michigan State (At-large)

Whichever seedings you choose, number 1 hosts number 16. Number 2 hosts number 15. Number 3 hosts number 14. And so on. Some of the matchups are really good. Some are not, but that's always the case. In the seven years of the CFP (14 semifinal games) 12 games have been double-digit wins. Only two were one score games.

On the other hand, some of those mismatches may not really be. You never know what a team may do once given the opportunity. Upsets do happen, so you might end up with a surprise or two by the time the title game rolls around.

The plan also calls for eight consolation bowls. First round in mid-December, and the losers would still get a bowl. At least two of those bowls would get conference champions. The four teams that lost in the second round could get a bowl, but I don't really care.

For second round pairings, you could either have a set bracket at the start, or you could have the highest remaining seed hosting the lowest remaining seed, similar to how the NFL does it. Doesn't really matter to me. The most important thing is that teams are rewarded for a great season, with the opportunity to win it all.

What does all this have to do with streaming? Well, other than that's how I watch all my games, nothing specific to streaming. But as a streamer, I appreciate the fact that I can watch any post-season game I want. My Streaming Life is good.


  1. I honestly love these posts. The easiest way to do this playoff series is to simply let the SEC play head-to-head in a series for the national championship, you know, kinda like they already do.

    There's a great idea, then you could just play the national championship every December in Atlanta. Oh, wait...

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I understand where you're coming from. But, just like in the SEC Shorts videos, you have "Hope" hanging around for the ones that always fall short. This plan would keep Hope on the payroll for years to come.


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