It’s time to expand college football playoffs, shorten regular season

Penn State coach James Franklin and his Nittany Lions team deserved to be in the college football playoffs for winning the Big Ten and beating Ohio State but there would be room for the school in an expanded playoff format. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Penn State coach James Franklin and his Nittany Lions team deserved to be in the college football playoffs for winning the Big Ten and beating Ohio State but there would be room for the school in an expanded playoff format. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Pick a team and defend a position. You can’t be wrong.

Pick Penn State, as I would, because the Nittany Lions won the best conference in the land (not the SEC) and defeated a team (Ohio State) that didn’t even make it into its own conference title game, yet somehow was knighted as the college football’s third best team. In my four-team bracket, Penn State would be in and Ohio State would be out.

Pick Michigan because it had a strong resume, or Washington, because winning the Pacific 12 actually meant something this season, or, hell, Western Michigan, because they’re the only team other than Alabama that didn’t lose a game this season.

No matter what four schools were picked Sunday for this year’s college football playoffs, there were going to be arguments. That’s fine. Arguments have been fueled by rankings and driven interest in college football for decades.

A two-team playoff (BCS) wasn’t going to change that. A four-team playoff isn’t much better.

This system still needs fixing. What I’m proposing would not create perfection but it would go a long way toward determining what schools really deserve to compete for college football’s championship. So this is what I would do:

Eliminate conference championship games: Hang with me here. It’s clear the college football playoff rankings committee isn’t going to give serious weight to a team that wins a conference championship anyway. So what’s the point of playing them? The loser of the game might get penalized for winning its division. These title games are played for only one reason: money. But eliminating the extra week of the season when conference championships are played will more easily accommodate what I’m going to propose and there will be more money at the end for all of the conferences and schools to share. Conference champions can still be determined by standings. Whether conferences would want to divide teams into divisions or play rotating schedules is completely up to them.

Shorten the regular season: Teams play 12 regular season games now. That goes to 13 if they’re in the conference championship game. That’s too many. Let’s go back to 11, even 10. That would get rid of one or two non-conference games that most fans don’t want to watch, anyway. If you don’t believe me, look at attendance figures for those games. Look at television ratings. Again, I understand this is a money issue. Schools from Power 5 conferences don’t want to give up a likely victory and an extra home game, even with a reduced gate, against a Sun Belt or FCS opponent. But the end goal here makes it worth it, in my view.

• Expand the playoff system: Really, isn’t this what everybody wants? Shortening the regular season and eliminating conference championship games opens more weeks for the postseason games and diminishes potential wear on players (who, yes, also still have to attend classes, at least in theory).

Coaches and players scream all the time about letting teams settle things on the field. Well, what just happened? Penn State settled it on the field against Ohio State and was left out of the equation.

I propose an eight-team playoff (three rounds). I believe a 16-team playoff would be too much but I would favor something similar to the NCAA basketball tournament where the top six teams are selected and seeded and four other teams try to play their way into the bracket for the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds in the eight-team field.

So it’s more like a field of 10 — a top 10, if you will.

This proposal would not eliminate all of the arguments. But if the nation’s 11th best college football program screams, “We should’ve been in,” it’s not going to create much of a ripple outside of that campus.

In my plan, there would be no automatic playoff berths awarded to conference champions, but it’s logical to assume with the big of a field all of them will get in.

This plan goes against what I’ve always believed was best for college football. I’m old school. Also old. I actually liked the old rankings system and old bowl set up but hated the BCS. It took all of the fun out of the bowls and accomplished little as a “playoff.” The bowl matchups were far better in the ancient bowl system. Now, most bowls are unwatchable.

I would not fold the playoffs into existing bowls. It’s asking too much of college fans and students to expect them to travel each week. I would put all of the playoff games on campuses of the higher seeded teams in playoff games except for the championship, like the Super Bowl. When the current playoff system was announced, I favored semifinals being played on campus. But nobody listened to me. Again.

As for the existing bowls, my hope is that some of them will just go away, especially with the perceived 10 best FBS programs in playoff games. Or allow early playoff losers to still play in a bowl game. It doesn’t matter to me and probably doesn’t matter to most, except the title sponsor of the game.

Tradition left college football long ago. If the objective here is to let the most deserving teams plays for a championship, it’s time to legitimize this thing.

EARLIER: Nothing was going to stop Alabama, especially in its home Dome

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552 comments
peachstealth
peachstealth

Conference championship games are the first round of the playoffs.

The next round should be the P5 champions, the highest rated G5 champion and two at large. 

Pounceman
Pounceman

Don't be picking on the SunBelt

FlatTire
FlatTire

Hot off the press


SEC after 60 years of dominance has a down year;  click on link to article by Piggly Johnson from Redneck Today 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@FlatTire  The sad thing is, those two are googling Piggly Johnson as we speak.

FlatTire
FlatTire

Breaking News


SEC is down; click link to article by Zit Popper from the Muddy River times

Big Wally
Big Wally

TOHIO *,  another woodshed moment on the TOHIO* couple.

FlatTire
FlatTire

This just in!!!


SEC is overrated; click link to read the twitter post by Burger Bob

Big Wally
Big Wally

Fear not TOHIO *, future Big pre10d expansion candidate Kansas came in ranked #3 in the bottom 25.  Loading up on those tough conference game eh, TOHIO*?

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Dumb Arse, we have already played them this year, they won by only 11, at their place (not hardly an a$$ kicking).  Do you always type before you think?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Round ball???

Deflecting again?

That's what losers do, y'know.

Big Wally
Big Wally

.and the final bottom 25 for 2016 are in, drum roll if you please TOHIO *,  ah let's just look at the Big pre10d conference shall we.


Coming in at number 2,  Rutgers at 2-10. A fine addition to the Big pre10d conference.  A quality team for a quality conference.


Coming in a number 9, Purdue, or should we say Purdon't (I'll explain that one to you later TOHIO*). The only question about Purdue is, what MAC coach do they want to hire this year (and fire three years later).


Coming in a number 10, Illinois.  So bad they can't win even with an ex Pro coach as their coach.


....and let's not forget good ole Bowling Green,  you remember them don't you TOHIO*, you told us how great they were in week 2 remember.  They come in ranked #22 (still not as bad as a fifth of the Big Pre10d conf.).


Michigan State also gets an honorable mention, they were on the cusp, just edged out at #26.


No other power 5 conf. had more than 2 (ACC).  SEC SEC SEC by the way had none.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Big Wally Rutgers played in a bowl game in 2005, 06, 07, 08, 09, 11, 12, 13 and 14.....beat the 2015 Coastal champs UNC ......you know, your signature win.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@TOJacket @Big Wally Let me get this right, you are now telling us what a great football program Rutgers is?  They won 2 freakin games this year, one against FCS Howard.  Wow, simply amazing.


You are really stretching this lapdog thing beyond reason.

Big Wally
Big Wally

OH:IO 4 hours ago

Morning, TO. Have a great day.

--------------------------------------------------------------

This Lifetime movie continues between TOHIO *

Big Wally
Big Wally

To summarize the blog so far this morning.


TOHIO *, #1,  good luck to you TOHIO * #2,

TOHIO *, # 2, no, no, good luck to TOHIO *, #1,

TOHIO *, #1, I will respect you, regardless of who wins between Clemson and OSU.

TOHIO *, #2, I couldn't agree any more with your comments, you inspire me so much.

and the violin music begins to play softly in the background.................................


DawgNole
DawgNole

@Big Wally

The violin, yes, but don't forget the skin flute. With TOHIO*, you know it's in there somewhere.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Speaking of Chip and Seth drool...........


Towers’ Take: Going to the dentist with UGA signee Jake Fromm

OH:IO
OH:IO

Gotta go with THE Litkenhaus 


1942: Wally Butts wins his first SEC championship. Before the bowls (Georgia would win the Rose Bowl that year), the Berryman, DeVold, Houlgate, Poling, Litkenhaus and Williamson polls declared Georgia national champions.


OH:IO
OH:IO

"Yet, It seems like the 1942 title being associated with Georgia is a recent phenomenon. Growing up, before I came to UGA, the 1980 national championship was the only one that was ever mentioned. Whenever you hear sportscasters talk about UGA, they only mention the 1980 title."


1980! 1980! 


FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO I guess they won't mention any title for Tech then

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO yea good ole AP.  AP writers mostly graduated from Big 10 schools.  No surprise their

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO  yea #19 ranked Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl 


ooh what a national title game that was

TOJacket
TOJacket

@OH:IO @FlatTire Damn OHIO, it's flat that decides who are NC....wonder why they named the "Heisman" you know that kind of important trophy after Techs Coach?....could be because he won big. Deal with it Flat, time heals all.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO  let us know when you want to come to south and actually play someone

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO let us know when the Ohio st makes it in the top 10 in bowl wins 


please AP vote us into another championship


we beat Maryland and Rutgers 148 to 0

FlatTire
FlatTire

SEC Exposed article coming soon


Stay tuned!!!!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket  if we are going to claim like you want to claim the dawgs have 5


so which is it?????