So you want an eight-team playoff?
All during the regular season, I listen to pundits and fans alike calling for an eight-team playoff Why? College football is the greatest sport there is because there is nothing else like it. No other sport has a regular season where every game matters so much. Expanding the playoffs would render so much of it useless.
We can all acknowledge the selection committee got the final four for the college football playoffs right but let’s look at what would have happened if they expanded to eight teams. If that were the case, the conference championship games would have been rendered mostly moot. Why would Saturday’s game matter for LSU and Georgia if both teams were getting into the playoffs? Wisconsin against Ohio State? Who cares if both are in. The same case would be made for Oklahoma against Baylor. In this scenario, there would be three teams entering the playoffs coming off of a loss which would be a terrible look for college football. If not, teams like Florida and Alabama that had their chances but could not get it done in the regular season would get another shot at the playoffs. Wait, Auburn beat Alabama–so maybe a team that has already lost three times should get a crack at the playoffs.
Of course, you would have to let all conference champions into an eight-team playoff so, in Round 1, an Oregon team that lost to Arizona State would get a chance at a national title. What if Virginia pulled off a miracle and beat Clemson? Let’s add another three-loss team to the playoffs, the Cavs who lost to an awful Miami team. Clemson would still have to be in the playoffs, meaning another team coming off a loss would get a shot at the title.
Under the current playoff system, the best four teams will play, including an absolute dream matchup for the ages between undefeated Clemson and undefeated Ohio State. Adding more teams would only ruin things. Conference championships should be important. Clemson has won five in a row–and, as an alum, I don’t take a single moment of it for granted. Just ask Miami (last won the Big East in 2003), Florida State (last won the ACC in 2014) or Florida (last won the SEC in 2008) fans how they would feel about winning a conference title.
Since I won’t be back with this column until mid-January, here are a few leftovers.
Great hires by FSU and USF. Now headed to FSU, Mike Norvell has really made Memphis exciting again, and he’s done it with an inventive running game, just what you need in today’s college football world.
New USF Coach Jeff Scott’s father Brad Scott was Bobby Bowden’s ace recruiter though he struggled as a head coach at South Carolina. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as Jeff was Dabo Swinney’s ace recruiter at Clemson. With this hire, USF should be fun again.
Are you watching this month? Give me UNC against Temple or Hawaii and BYU all day every day over early December NBA games not involving my Orlando Magic. Don’t complain about the other bowls being meaningless. Just enjoy them for what they are. That reminds me. UCF, Tampa is waiting for you. Go, have fun, and cheer your team one last time in the Gasparilla Bowl. I’ve seen Marshall play twice this year. If UCF takes them lightly, they will get beaten.
Top 25 For the Week Beginning December 8th
1. LSU (13-0) I predict they win by 10 over Oklahoma in Peach Bowl.
2. Ohio State (13-0) I predict the Fiesta Bowl will be the most-watched game of the year.
3. Clemson (13-0) Installed as a favorite over Ohio State despite lower seed.
4. Oklahoma (12-1) Excited to see Jalen Hurts against LSU again.
5. Penn State (10-2) Memphis wants it more, but give me Penn State by two touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl.
6. Georgia (11-2) It was against the number one team–but Georgia got whipped by LSU.
7. Florida (10-2) Disappointed Gators will lose Orange Bowl in an upset.
8. Baylor (11-2) I have Georgia by 17 or more in Sugar Bowl.
9. Oregon (11-2) Oregon by more than a TD in Rose Bowl over Wisconsin.
10. Alabama (10-2) Alabama by 21 over Michigan. Orlando is happy to have the Tide.
11. Utah (11-2) Fell all the way to the Alamo Bowl but will still beat Texas.
12. Auburn (9-3) Will beat Minnesota by a FG in the Outback Bowl.
13. Memphis (12-1) Florida State made the right hire in Mike Norvell.
14. Minnesota (10-2) Great season for the Gophers and great bowl match for Tampa.
15. Wisconsin (10-3) Don’t think they have the speed or can score enough to hang with Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
16. Michigan (9-3) Fans support at Citrus may show whether Harbaugh has run his course.
17. Iowa (9-3) Give me Southern Cal by two long TD passes in the Holiday Bowl.
18. Notre Dame (10-2) I think Iowa State will want the Camping World Bowl more.
19. Appalachian State (11-1) Get a disappointing New Orleans Bowl on December 21 with a new coach. It will be tough for them to be motivated even though they’re better than UAB.
20. Boise State (11-1) Should be plenty motivated take on Washington but give me the Huskies in a close one.
21. Navy (9-2) Give me Liberty Bowl, give me Kansas State by more than 10.
22. Air Force (10-2) Should be a great contrast in style with Washington State. I’ll take the Falcons.
23. Kansas State (8-4) With a month to prep, they can handle Navy’s option.
24. Southern Cal (8-4) Is keeping Clay Helton the right move? There is just no buzz around the program.
25. SMU (10-2) Great season to win at TCU and it should be a slugfest against FAU in Boca Bowl.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.