Let’s be honest, the college football playoffs are becoming less fascinating each year, with Alabama, Clemson and a combo pack of Ohio State/Oklahoma in there almost every year. Here is an idea to shake it up.
We all cheered when the four-team playoff system was introduced for college football. A pair of semifinals and a title game to crown a champion. That was in 2014 when Ohio State and Oregon played in the inaugural contest. Since, it seems and is partially true, that that same group of teams are always among the Final Four.
- 2014 – Alabama – Oregon- Florida State – Ohio State
- 2015 – Clemson – Alabama – Michigan State – Oklahoma
- 2016 – Alabama – Clemson – Ohio State – Washington
- 2017 – Clemson – Oklahoma – Georgia – Alabama
- 2018 – Alabama – Clemson – Notre Dame – Oklahoma
- 2019 – LSU – Ohio State – Clemson – Oklahoma
LSU was a breath of fresh air to change the usual suspects up, but this year it looks like more of the same with the Fighting Irish a modestly different variation. The fact is, there ends up being no more than three teams that honestly have a legitimate chance to win the national championship.
It is not uncommon in this sport for a team to have a five to seven-year run if the same head coach remains with a school, and they can have Top 7 recruiting classes every year. At the same time, seeing the same uniforms season after season does become redundant unless it is a team you cheer for.
As bettors who weekly go over all the college football odds, we are used to dealing with variety, thanks to the oddsmakers at betting websites and we welcome change. (As long as it doesn’t break up our routine.)
Here is one common-sense proposal to add interest to the college playoffs for fans, bettors and sportsbooks.
Raise the Number of Teams From Four to Six
We know some would want an eight-team or 16-team tournament, but the fact remains only a few truly would have a chance. Sure, football could go NBA-style with 16 playoff teams, however, only 3-to-5 have any chance to win it and the rest is to generate NBA revenue and keep the sport active in fan’s minds.
With six teams, the Top 2, voted by a committee, just like now, receive a bye. This sets up 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 matchups. These would be played the third Saturday of December in the best available time slots and those clubs would have two weeks to prepare, based on a normal year, not 2020.
Because we are also thinking of the fans, these confrontations would be home games for the higher seeds, giving them the incentive to finish strong. This also avoids having to pick bowls sites and force fans of two teams to travel up to three times to different locations.
This would be a real bonanza for those putting together college football picks, having two compelling contests along with this the first day of the bowl season, making a true opening day for the bowl season.
Because football bettors tend to be a bit crazy by nature, betting sites could turn this into a big promotional opportunity to have gamblers excited for the college postseason.
Who Should Be Eligible to Participate in the New Format?
This is subjective and we have two trains of thought on this. One would be to take the Power 5 conferences and take each champion. The conferences would have to determine if they want the regular-season champ or the title game-winner. We don’t care, just no whining if it doesn’t work best for you. The one requirement, your team has to rank in the Top 12 final poll.
The last spot would go to a Group 5 team. The bigger conferences would hate this, but like the NCAA basketball tournament, how much fun would it be to see a team like that pull an upset on the road and reach the Final 4? It works in basketball, it can work in football. One last requirement for the Group 5 participant, they should schedule at least one game against a Power 5 opponent that is expected to be no worse than middle of the pack in a conference. That way, fewer complaints about their schedule, at least they tried.
Otherwise, go with the system we have, the Top 6 teams advance in order of the final poll by the committee and we start. This allows proper rest between games of at least 10 days between contests and this adds a whole new level of college football playoff excitement. Let’s go!