Expand The Damn Playoff: An Appeal
College football, you are so, so stupid.
And I love you so much.
But you’re still so, so weird. And, every year, you seem to get dumber and dumber, yet people watch you more than they ever have before.
Ultimately, people watch college football because they want to watch their teams win and their rivals lose. But, for the casual fan, college football is not unlike the NCAA tournament for basketball. People watch march madness to see, well, the madness.
In a sport like college football, where winning is mandatory and losing is catastrophic, the stakes are high every single fall Saturday and the threat of imminent doom ever apparent every time a top-10 team takes the field. Do not be fooled, not a week goes by in college football where the words “national championship implications” aren’t thrown around. All it takes is one play to completely shake up an entire season.
This play had national playoff implications pic.twitter.com/EzZO56zh7S— BUFFALO TURKEY WRAP (@edsbs) December 4, 2016
Nothing makes you want to sit on your couch for 12 straight hours like a little chaos. Trust me, I do it every fall Saturday and I hate it but here we are.
2016 was a particularly chaotic year in college football. Let’s take a look at the games that shook up this season:
Oklahoma loses to Houston.
Oklahoma state loses to Central Michigan.
Penn state loses to Pitt.
Ohio state loses to Penn State.
Michigan loses to Iowa.
Michigan loses to Ohio State.
That’s. About. It.
What effect did those games have?
Oklahoma loses to a “group of five” (a team from outside college football’s five major conferences) team that was ranked in the top-10 at the time on a neutral site field. Misses playoff.
Oklahoma State loses a game in the last second against a non-ranked group of five team. Here is the play that beat them:
Misses chance to make playoff.
Penn state loses to bitter in-state rival Pittsburgh by three points. Misses playoff.
Ohio state loses to Penn State on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown (and it was magnificent). Still makes playoff, but barely.
Michigan loses to Iowa by one point. Must now beat Ohio State to make playoff.
Michigan loses to hated rival Ohio State in double overtime thanks to untimely turnovers by the wolverines and a little home cookin’ from the officiating. Misses playoff.
There you go, that’s your entire season. 13 weeks of football, and the entire season turned on those six ridiculous games. Firstly, if you’re a casual college football fan, this season probably made you way more invested in it and I feel so sorry for you.
Secondly, and more importantly: expand the damn playoff.
How can we leave Oklahoma out when they won their conference, and have not lost a game since September 17th? Who did they lose to that night? Second ranked and most likely playoff-bound Ohio State.
How can we leave Penn State out when they won college football’s toughest conference, beating Ohio state, Iowa and Wisconsin in the process?
How can we leave out Michigan, who thrashed big-ten conference champion Penn State 49-10, beat #8 Colorado, beat #6 Wisconsin and were a yard away from beating #2 Ohio State in Columbus in double overtime?
And how can we leave out USC whose three losses were to Utah, Stanford and the death star known as the Alabama Crimson Tide? All ranked in the top-10 when they played, by the way. They have no lost since their game against Stanford on September 23rd.
I can go on; Wisconsin and Colorado are easily worthy of being considered amongst the top teams in college football, and included in the playoff.
In a game that often hinges on nothing, how can only allow four teams to compete for a national championship? The playoff was designed to circumvent the subjectivity of the old system, that did such things as allow a national championship game between #1 LSU and #3 Alabama in 2011-12. A) they already played each other that year. B) since when are championships not decided between #1 and #2?
If you want a real “playoff” to decide the best team in the country, expand the damn thing. Don’t assume that the four best teams in the country will be obvious year in and year out. Someone will always feel left out.
I hate you college football.
Ok bye love you.