Sep. 26, 2016
Was changing to the College Football Playoff the right move?
It has been three years since the NCAA moved from the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) computer rankings to determine the National Championship and other bowl games to having a committee make those decisions. At this point college football fans are used to the new system, where a committee votes the teams into the playoffs. Now that it is three years since implementing the new system, is it better than the old BCS system?
There are obvious changes that are pros to some and cons to others. The most obvious change is the creation of a four-team playoff to determine the National Champion opposed to the old system where the two National Championship contenders were selected. This is probably the best change the NCAA made. America loves playoffs and what better way to determine the National Championship than a playoff?
On the other hand, some people will argue that with the new system, it takes away from the importance of the other four major bowl games that are not a part of the playoffs. While this may be true, it also increases the importance of winning a National Championship, which should be the ultimate goal.
Having a playoff is better than having no playoff at all so the College Football Playoff are already better than the BCS. However, this year is showing that increasing the size of the Playoff may be something the NCAA should do.
There is a decent chance that 9-2 Louisville will miss the playoffs and many argue that they should have a shot at a National Championship given how good they are. The problem is that the playoffs cannot be expanded too much. There can’t be a March Madness sized playoff.
On the other hand, increasing the pool to six teams, giving two byes, or eight teams does seem to make sense. Any more than eight teams and there are too many games.
The new system also gives teams the possibility of losing a game or two early in the season and then bounce back and earn the votes of the committee rather than being taken out of National Championship contention early in the season because of the way the BCS system was set up. It’s similar in regards to March Madness but on a smaller scale.
One thing the BCS system did which made regular season games more interesting is that it made every game a little more important. With two less teams and a computer system, one loss could virtually eliminated a team’s chances, making every game a must win.
College football was the only major sport in America in which the championship game was not determined by a playoff. It just makes sense to create the playoff. In the end, the NCAA cares about money. When fans are happy they make more money. In 2012, ESPN conducted a poll in which 77% of respondents prefered a playoff system over the BCS.
The NCAA gave the fans what they want and it was the right idea. There are still changes that can be made, but college football is better now than it was three years ago.