First off, I have to say I give a lot of credit to my former professor Dr. Martin for this idea, and I think it’s a really good one so I’m letting people know about it.
The current format for the College Football Playoffs includes the top four teams, determined ultimately by a committee of analysts, and showcases their talents in a short, single elimination tournament, to be the determining formula to produce a national champion.
This was not always the case. However in recent years it was decided at long last to implement this short playoff structure at the end of the season, to appease millions of fans, athletes, and former athletes, attempting to solidify the title of best team in college football, and quell debates that infect sports broadcasts every season.
On the contrary, the people are still not completely satisfied and this pool of four teams will inevitably be expanded. There is only one clear cut choice when it comes this though.
If expanded, the committee cannot just take the champions from the Power 5 Conferences and forget the rest. It has to include them all and then debate among themselves which teams to include along with these conference winners.
Including the ridiculous Independent Conference, there are 11 conferences in college football. So that secures 11 automatic bids into the expanded tournament that cannot be taken away.
Hopefully in the years ahead, the Independents can be dispersed into other conferences that are geographically convenient for them. It doesn’t make sense for Army and UMass to travel across the country for conference play against BYU and New Mexico State, and vice versa.
So really I’m advocating for them to do that first honestly, and take the 10 conference champions and then have 6 wild card teams which they would need to keep the committee for discussing.
The teams would have to be seeded in some way so that would also fall under the job of the committee, since they have to include the conference champions automatically.
Problem is, you’re not going to make everyone happy with ANY format you come up with, but this is the best way I’ve seen it laid out. But this allows for potentially the same few teams that the experts think are already the best, to prove they are by having to beat the presumed lesser teams that would never be on their schedule.
And this also gives a fighting chance to the conference champions outside of the Power 5 that may never see a meaningful bowl game in their history. Because to be honest, there are so many bowl games, the playoff games and the major bowls that are usually on New Year’s Day are the only ones people care about anyway.
Now, with this addition of games to the end of the year, there’s absolutely zero reason these kids should be playing as many games on the year as the players in the NFL, where many of them aspire to play in the future.
Though it doesn’t have to be drastic, they need to at least shave one game off of the regular season schedule for the teams. Implement an 11 game regular season, and whoever is No. 1 and No. 2 in their conferences/divisions/however they’re restructured, will face off in the 12th game of their season to determine the conference champions.
The new playoff format would have the teams face in a seeded tournament, No. 1 vs No. 16, No. 2 vs No. 15, No. 3 vs No. 14, and so on. Lose and you’re out, win and you’re one step closer to being crowned national champion.
This will put the total for the two teams in the championship at 16 games for regular season and playoffs. Yes, this does equal the number of games for the NFL’s regular season, but only for 2 teams, and it includes the playoffs so it’s clearly different.
You can keep the bowls if you want and sponsors can continue to bid on teams for them if they wish, and schedule them around these tournament games and now more of the collegiate athletes will be included in bowl season to showcase their abilities, that may not have gotten to otherwise.
And those teams that are selected will only have to play 13 games including their bowl game, and they can actually have time to focus on academics, like the NCAA wants us to believe they do anyway.