The preseason top 25 rankings for college football were released recently and with it, in some sense, ends possibilities for teams before a single down is even played.
The top tier of college football relies so heavily on “rankings”, which are really just the opinions of a bunch of gasbag sportswriters like me and the opinions of coaches. And we’ve already buried some teams into mediocrity before the season has begun.
There’s no team in college football who could start the season way down in the polls and end up qualifying for the College Football Playoff. Out of the 132 FBS teams in the country, only about 20-25 really have any legitimate shot at competing for a national title. A team who’s sitting 60-70th in the rankings can’t compete for a national title pretty much no matter what. You can in college basketball and everyone loves it.
Sure, there’s a playoff now like there wasn’t in the past, but even that has a group of college football experts like Condoleezza Rice sitting in a room selecting the top four teams. And I’m sure they’re focused on the integrity of the game instead of the NCAA’s bottom line. *Rolls eyes*
This isn’t just some “Expand the playoff to include everyone!” columns. I do feel the playoff should be expanded beyond four teams, but I really think my idea would make things interesting.
My proposal includes a 12-team end of the year tournament which would include the 10 winners of each of the FBS conferences earning automatic bids with the top two other teams being the top teams in the polls who didn’t win a conference championship.
You would give a first-round bye to the top four conference champions based on their rankings in the polls, and play it out from there. It could bring all the drama we love to watch in March into the football arena.
Can you imagine the Sun Belt Champion Western Kentucky Mountaineers upsetting a team like Alabama or Oregon in the first round of the tournament? And if you’re turning up your nose at the thought of that, you give too much credit to traditional powerhouses. There’s no such thing as a poor conference champion team. And we’ll probably see a few of those traditional powerhouses lose to FCS teams in the coming weeks as well.
I suppose the adoption of this policy would force Notre Dame to join a conference, unless they feel confident about their chances about coming in the top five consistently ,but I’ll trust they figure that out.
Plus this might put an end to traditional bowls like the Rose Bowl which features the Big Ten Champion against the Pac 12 Champion, but forget about totally valid and fair complaints about my dream system and just let me enjoy it!
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.