The Ohio State football team has had a great deal of success qualifying for the College Football Playoff, but there are certainly ways to improve the system.
For the purpose of this article, I’m declaring myself King, Exalted Potentate, Grand Poobah, and All-Around Chief Big Doolie of college football. Imagine King for a Day by Thompson Twins playing in the background as you read on.
Since a College Football Playoff subcommittee met recently to discuss expansion ideas, my first order of business is to not just expand the playoff, I’m going to revamp the whole thing. This is what I would do in my perfect college football world.
Get rid of the selection committee – Doing away with the human element would put an end to the beauty contest of selecting and seeding teams for the playoff. Too often we hear the CFP chairman say one team just looks better than another. This is what we had for decades when the polls were used to determine a national champion.
In the first couple of seasons of the playoff, we would hear the committee chair talk of the criteria being used. That slowly went away and the only criteria now seems to be the Look Test. Which teams simply look better than others.
Implement a standardized point system – Using a points system to determine the playoff participants and seedings would do away with the Look Test. The only thing which matters is who has a team defeated and who those teams have defeated.
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If you’re a fan of Ohio high school football, you know exactly where I’m going with this. A team would receive a certain number of points for defeating a Power 5 opponent, while points for a win over a Group of 5 team would be prorated based on conference membership (more points for beating a Conference USA member than for a win over a MAC or Sun Belt team).
Teams would continue to accumulate points each time a defeated opponent won. Teams would also get a large bonus for winning their conference but penalized heavily for a win over an FCS team. Fans would be able to have a much better idea of where their favorite team stands each week rather than being at the mercy of the committee.
Expand the field to eight teams – All Power 5 conference champions would receive an automatic bid, along with the highest-rated Group of 5 conference winner, and two at-large bids.
Higher seeded team receives a home game in the first round – The top four seeds should be rewarded in some way. This would generate a huge amount of excitement and allow for a full stadium. Putting first-round games at neutral sites and forcing fans to travel runs the very real risk of low attendance.
These games could be played two weeks after the conference championship games. Here is another thing to consider. How much fun would it be to see a warm-weather team have to play the Ohio State football team in Columbus on a day when it’s around 28 degrees? That’s a very appealing thought to me.
Make Dallas the permanent sight of the championship game – I’m not all that serious about this one, but if the powers that be ever decided to choose a permanent place for their ultimate game, Dallas should be the place. They did a phenomenal job with the first one and set the standard for others to try to meet.
While the College Football Playoff put on the game, the Dallas Sports Commission (I believe that is their official name) handled everything else, including the media. I covered that first-ever CFP championship game. Those people made your job easy and saw to it you had an enjoyable time when you weren’t working.
The year before the game they went to the Rose Bowl and learned from the best, the Tournament of Roses people. Those guys are amazing and it’s obvious the folks from Dallas paid attention. Everything about the event was done first-class and AT&T Stadium is a palace.
That is how I’d revamp the playoff in my first act as the ruler of college football. Now, for my second act, I want to silence Dabo Swinney ( like Ohio State football did in January) so we don’t have to listen to any more nuggets of wisdom come from his mouth. Please pass the duct tape and make it a big roll. We’re going to need a lot to cover that gargantuan maw on the Clemson head coach.