The College Football Playoff

The College Football Playoff website gives an overview of the tournament by saying, “The College Football Playoff (CFP) is a big success. Fans, including many who are new to the sport, enjoy it. The first College Football Playoff semifinals and national championship were the three most-viewed programs in cable television history. The playoff preserves the excitement and significance of college football’s unique regular season where every game counts. The selection committee ranks the teams based on conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and other factors. A talented group of high-integrity individuals with experience as coaches, student-athletes, college administrators and journalists, along with sitting athletics directors, comprise the selection committee.” Before switching to this new system, the top programs would compete in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Five bowl games included ten of the top-ranked teams, with the top two competing for the national championship. The first playoff was in 2014, and it was the first time college football has done a bracket-style tournament during its postseason. I am a supporter of the new College Football Playoff system because it allows the champion to prove themselves, and it is more exciting for the viewers. However, there are improvements that can be made to ultimately make it as best a playoff system as possible.

Last year, the four participants in the tournament were Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. The number one-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide took on the fourth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes. This game was an absolute shootout and ended in a Buckeye victory, with a final score of 42-35. The other semifinal game was between Florida State and Oregon. This game was played at the legendary Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The contest quickly got out of hand when Oregon’s high-powered offense scored 59 points. This was too much for the Seminoles, as they only managed to score 20 points. The Seminoles’ loss left the second-seeded Oregon and fourth-seeded Ohio State to a game for the national title. At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, 85,689 people attended to watch the two best teams in the country square off. With ESPN’s finest announcers, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, on the call, the game was ready to be played on January 12th. After a close start, Ohio State pulled away towards the end. They won the national championship against Oregon by a score of 42 to 20. The first year of the College Football Playoff was successful. With the season winding down and the selection committee getting a better grasp on the potential candidates for the bracket, the second annual College Football Playoff is molding into being another thriller.

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The College Football Playoff trophy. Photo by CBS Sports.

I like the College Football Playoff more than the BCS. It allows the top four teams to compete, as opposed to only two being selected for the national championship game. This is the best way to show who is the best team in the country. I asked college football enthusiast Jake Johnston for his thoughts on the new system compared to the old one. He said, “I am a fan of the new system now that we have more teams competing in the final stage of the championship. As a fan, I get to enjoy more highly competitive football games with huge implications.” In saying this, Johnston also speaks for many other intense fans of college football.

There is constant discussion about changes in the system. For example, there have been talks of expanding from four teams to eight teams. Some may not be in favor of this, but I am. Extending the number of teams would allow a team from each Power 5 Conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and PAC-12) to compete in the playoff. This would also leave three extra spots for teams that did not win their conference but are still qualified. A current issue, when talks of qualifying teams comes up, is the Big 12. There are very talented football teams in the Big 12, but they do not have a conference championship game. These games are an entertaining way for a team to prove that they are the best in their conference, which is why it hurts the Big 12 not to have one. Another advantage to having eight teams is that the champion will have proved themselves in the most immense way. A team would have to win three games instead of two. For now, the system is sticking to four teams, but college football fans need to be alert for some interesting changes that could take place. The first round of games will be played on Thursday, December 31, followed by the Monday, January 11th championship.  More can be read about the playoff at the official website here.

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About the author

Evan Justice is a junior at the Collegiate School.