After hearing from the public on a couple occasions, this newspaper has avoided overt commentary on national/world news, instead focusing on local and general matters as much as we can. However, the recent college football playoff announcement has us seeing crimson.
That’s not because Ohio State wasn’t one of the top four teams chosen. No, we think the only undefeated major college team, the University of Central Florida, should be number one, especially after an exciting 62-55 double-overtime victory over Memphis to win the American Athletic Conference.
Yes, we think the four teams with the best records should square off in the current playoff format. That means any undefeated teams should be the top seeds, with the committee picking among the top one-loss teams to round out the field. Teams with perfect seasons should be rewarded for running the table, regardless of what conference they’re in. Does that mean we think they’ll win it all? No, but we like seeing underdogs try.
Under the present format, Ohio State was prevented from getting in. It’s not so much that they lost to Oklahoma at home early in the season, it’s that second loss, by 31 points at Iowa. Sorry folks, that’s a deal-breaker.
However, we’d like to see the major colleges have an expanded playoff system, just like there is at the Division II and Division III levels. Even here, exciting football is played, and one of the best college teams at any level — Mount Union — is in Ohio. We often hear sports journalists and former players say that an expanded playoff makes the season too long, but if you poll the players and the public, no one would object to more football in winter.
There are two scenarios that could work for an expanded playoff:
1. An eight-team playoff, featuring the champions of the so-called five power conferences: the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference (B1G), Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and Southeastern Conference (SEC). The other three would be conference champions chosen by committee, and other winning teams could play in the lesser bowl games. Under this scenario, conference champions OSU would be in the playoff; and conference runners-up Alabama could have played in this year’s first bowl game, Dec. 16’s Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Camellia is a pink flower.
2. A 16-team playoff, with the champions of all 10 Division I-A conferences playing: American Athletic, ACC, B1G, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, Sun Belt. The rest could of the field could be made up of FBS Independents (this year, popular teams Notre Dame and Army had winning records, while BYU and UMass would be out) and the committee’s choice of conference runners-up, if you really want to see Alabama and Wisconsin that bad. That would mean this year’s Cotton Bowl with OSU and the University of Southern California on Dec. 29 would be a match-up of champions, with the winner going on to the next round.
Yes, there will always be complaints about someone getting snubbed, but we think winning your conference championship should count for something, and getting all 10 conference champions in a playoff would be the fairest way to settle who is best on the gridiron. Oh well, we’ll be rooting for the Buckeyes, UCF and Georgia this bowl season.