Synan Says, the Real Top 25 in College Football: Save the Bowls

Are you tired of the playoff matchups yet?

As the nation groans over another year where Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State are clearly the best teams in the nation, the clamor is growing louder for changes to the playoffs, including expanding to bring in more teams.

Here is one writer hoping the tradition and pageantry of the bowls are saved.

Do we really need an expanded playoff? Why make the college football season only about the teams that make the playoffs?

The debate over who should be number four this year boiled down to two teams that were crushed in matchups with the big boys. Notre Dame got the spot because they beat Clemson in a double-overtime thriller earlier in the season when the Tigers did not have their all-world quarterback and three key defensive starters. With Trevor Lawrence in the mix, the Tigers beat Notre Dame by more than three touchdowns, with the 34-10 score really not indicating how lopsided the game was.

Texas A&M fans lobbied for their Aggies but they lost by four touchdowns to Alabama. The only schools with a seemingly legitimate playoff argument–Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina–were never even considered.

Let’s face it. There are only three teams capable of winning two games of this magnitude and the nation will be watching to see if it will be Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State.

How about letting all conference champions into a 10 team playoff? There are, after all, 10 conferences in FBS football. Letting 10 teams in would both expand the playoffs and let the little guys have a shot at glory.

Here is what the playoffs would look like under this format:

#10 Ball State at #7 Coastal Carolina

#9 UAB at #8 San Jose State

The following week would be the on-campus quarterfinals:

Week 1 winner at #1 Alabama

Week 1 winner at #2 Clemson

#6 Oregon at #3 Ohio State

#5 Cincinnati at #4 Oklahoma

Sound fun? What about Notre Dame, Texas A&M and all the wonderful teams that did not win a conference championship? This format would actually save the bowl games because there would be so many teams left to go and play those holiday matchups. Texas A&M versus Iowa State in a bowl game sounds like a great matchup.  Florida and Georgia could each get top finishers from other conferences that were good–but not playoff good. Having a system where only conference champions can get into the playoffs is the only way to save the flailing bowl system. I will sit down and watch Western Kentucky play Louisiana in a bowl game every single time over watching an early season NBA game. Let’s make college football better


  1. ALABAMA (11-0) Defensive problems again or is Florida’s offense really good?
  2. CLEMSON (10-1) Just throttled Notre Dame.
  3. OHIO STATE (6-0) When you thought they may be in trouble, they ran for more than 400 yards.
  4. CINCINNATI (9-0) Took a last-second FG to beat Tulsa–but Tulsa has been good all year.
  5. NOTRE DAME (10-1) Be very worried about Alabama, Irish fans.
  6. TEXAS A&M (8-1) Not overly impressive beating Tennessee.
  7. COASTAL CAROLINA (11-0) A season for the ages and their bowl game is in Orlando.
  8. INDIANA (6-1) Should have been rewarded with a New Year’s bowl.
  9. OKLAHOMA (8-2) Ran off seven straight wins to end the season.
  10. BYU (10-1) Can’t wait to see them take on UCF in a great matchup.
  11. LOUISIANA (10-1) Only loss was in the last seconds to Coastal Carolina.
  12. FLORIDA (8-3) Showed they belong with big boys in loss to Alabama.
  13. SAN JOSE STATE (7-0) Boise State win completes total program turnaround.
  14. GEORGIA (7-2) Hate to rank them this high because their wins aren’t great.
  15. IOWA STATE (8-3) Comeback falls short in Big 12 Championship.
  16. LIBERTY (9-1) Excited to see them play Coastal Carolina in prime time.
  17. NORTHWESTERN (6-2) Couldn’t stop the run, but great effort versus Ohio State.
  18. IOWA (6-2) Bad start, great finish.
  19. OREGON (4-2) Stopped USC late to claim the Pac-12 crown.
  20. SOUTHERN CAL (5-1) Couldn’t keep pulling wins out of their rear end when it mattered most.
  21. NORTH CAROLINA (8-3) Trending up in year two under Mack Brown.
  22. MIAMI (8-2) Will they be motivated to play a bowl game in Orlando?
  23. OKLAHOMA STATE (7-3) Same question as they face Miami in Orlando.
  24. TULSA (6-2) Only losses by one score to Cincinnati and Oklahoma State.
  25. WASHINGTON (3-1) Would have loved to see them in the Pac-12 Championship.


Reach Mike Synan at


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