Expanding the college football playoffs

By Adam Przeslak, sports editor.

College football has crowned its newest champion: the Alabama Crimson Tide, a team very familiar with lifting trophies above their head. This season’s college football playoffs marked the Crimson Tide’s third straight appearance and their second championship.

Alabama’s presence was questioned from the beginning as they took the highly contested fourth playoff spot. The SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs were already in the playoff, and with the addition of the Crimson Tide, there were two teams from the same conference in the playoffs for the first time. Alabama had missed its chance to play in the SEC championship game after losing to in-state rival Auburn.

On Jan. 1 the Crimson Tide took to the Sugar Bowl for its first round matchup against Clemson. Meanwhile, an undefeated University of Central Florida team faced off against Auburn, the very team that took down Alabama a few weeks prior. UCF, an undefeated, non-power five team, was still considered an underdog.

Since UCF is not a “power five” conference team they were overlooked for a one-loss Alabama and not placed in the playoff. The power five conferences are the biggest schools and are considered to be the “money makers” for the NCAA. Power five conferences include the ACC, SEC, Big Twelve, Pac-12 and Big Ten, but not the American Athletic Conference. The AAC is one of a couple conferences consisting of primarily smaller schools that don’t get as much media attention as power five schools. Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan are examples of local division one schools that are not in a power five conference.

Central Florida, despite their underdog status, topped Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Their victory kicked off a fan-led campaign to name the UCF Knights the one, true 2018 national champs and not Alabama. Why shouldn’t UCF be allowed to participate in high caliber bowl games?

The four team playoff format is celebrating its fourth year of exist. Coaches, fans, players and the media all seem to like the new format, it’s a fresh breath of air after decades of questionable committee decisions and contested national champions. However, there is an almost unanimous request for change in college football coming from the same crowds that are praising the new format. The four team playoff bracket is great, but the masses are calling for more teams.

A six game playoff would be possible by giving two teams a first round bye week while the lower seeds faceoff to see which teams will battle the top seed the following week. However, the more popular request is for the playoff system to extend to eight teams. I think an eight team playoff would be the ideal situation. Four spots could potentially be reserved for power five conferences while four spots could be reserved for the non power five conferences.

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