The problem with the College Football Playoff


photo via ProFootball

There are not too many things better than waking up on a Saturday morning and turning on ESPN to watch College Gameday. For many people, college football is their favorite sport to watch. However, college football has gotten dull the last few years. 


From 1998 to 2013, Division 1 college football was played under the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). During this era, teams like Boise State, TCU and Utah would be put on the map with great seasons and upsets in big bowl games. 


However, small schools would never be given the opportunity to compete for a national championship. Under the BCS system, only the top two teams would play for a national championship. So these games would get repetitive. Teams like Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma would become usual suspects in the big game. 


So the college football playoff was announced and installed. This new system would allow the top 4 teams in the country to compete for a national championship. The playoff seemed to be a way to get the small schools into national contention. This hasn’t happened. 


Instead college football has become even more repetitive than it used to be. Alabama and Clemson have only missed the playoff once each in its seven-year existence. Only schools from the Power Five conferences have competed and only four different schools have won it. 


So how can this be fixed?


First, the playoff has to be expanded. To get more interest into the sport, more teams need to be able to participate in the biggest tournament. In order to actually give smaller schools a shot, the playoff needs to be in a range of eight to 12 teams. This would give the opportunity for one, maybe two of the top five schools to participate. 


Second, talent needs to be spread out. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia are always at the top of recruiting rankings because of their constant appearances in the CFP and the exposure that comes with it. Because the playoff is so exclusive, top players only want to go to the schools that are continuously contending.


An expanded playoff will help, but the new rules about athlete endorsements will take it to a whole new level. 


With this new rule, top recruits in the most recent class have been more spread out than in the last couple years. This happened because five and four star players don’t want to play for a top school like Alabama and be buried in the depth chart. This gives these players the chance to be the star and make money before going to the NFL. 


This college football season has arguably been the most exciting season since the playoff came into effect. With teams like Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama losing; and Iowa, Penn State, Cincinnati and Oregon near the top, this year’s championship is set up to be great. And with an expanded playoff looking like it’s in the near future, college football is looking like it is on its way to being the main sports attraction on Saturdays.