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College Football Playoff System Needs Overhaul

Finding a balance between polls, computers and random people deciding on a whim

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The College Playoff is still really new. 2014 was the first application of it and it is just wrought with problems. First and foremost, the committee charged with deciding on the four teams to be in the playoff. The most glaring problem with this is that the four teams they choose may not necessarily match up with the polls. This isn't so much a concern for an undefeated team as it is the one loss crowd. Especially when members of this committee are admins of these universities, such as Pat Haden of USC who has recently stepped down. Talk about a conflict of interest.

One of the reasons the BCS came into being was people were tired of having pollsters with no tangible objectivity decide where teams were ranked and who would play in the National Championship game. Before the BCS it was common to not have #1 and #2 play each other in the National Championship. For example, in 1996, #1 Florida State played #3 Florida in the National Championship while, #2 Arizona State played #4 Ohio State. In 1997, #1 Michigan and #2 Nebraska, never got to duke it out for the National Championship as they played #8 Washington State and #3 Tennessee respectively.

Now some of this has to do with bowl commitments. With the Big 10 and Pac-10 playing in the Rose Bowl every year, somewhat put a wrench in the National Championship plans, that ultimately were voted on in the polls afterwards to see whose win was more impressive and would be ranked #1 in the AP poll as National Champion. Man, that's exhausting. People were sick of it. So along came the BCS.

The BCS would take into account human polls, but not let them be the be all end all and would finally have a true National Championship game between #1 and #2. This quickly became an object of target by fans who believed that their teams were not given the ranking they deserved and "what does a computer know about football anyway?" So we went from too much human influence to not enough. The compromise? Back to human influence. This time, from random people in a secret bunker deciding who they believe are the 4 best teams regardless of any other poll.

This new system was partly put in place for the TCU's and the Boise States of the world who just weren't in the right conference out in the MWC or WAC, be undefeated, but nowhere near the top rankings in the country. All they would do is go on to beat more prestigous teams in the country like Boise did to Oklahoma in 2007 (2006 season). This was figured to have a separate committee put them in if deemed worthy. However, the general consensus is you have to be in a Power 5 conference anyway to get in the playoff.

How crazy is this?

Now that we have a playoff, some say keep it at 4 because bowls are important and we don't want to add on too many games for injury risks sake, especially for those entering the draft. (We won't even get into the other reasons...). The other side feels like 4 isn't enough and it should be open to 64 teams like March Madness. Where if you factor in the number of bowls already... every team who had a bowl, will still get there bowl game. Last year, including the playoff there were 41 games/bowls played... do the math. 

With Cinderella's rarely getting to the final four in basketball, and the grueling nature of football... from a realistic and safety perspective it doesn't make sense.

So here is my idea. (And yes I realize I'm probably not the first, but haven't done any research on other people's ideas.)

1. Expand to 8 teams
2. Conference championships should mean something. 
3. Next 3 highest ranked.
4. First games are each played at traditional BCS bowls. Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose. 
5. Semi-Final games to be played in Cotton Bowl, and another bowl TBD.
6. NC played in different NFL stadiums rotated one year behind Super Bowl venue. 

If the season ended today... here's how it would play out:

**Criteria and conference rankings are as of today by record... even with games to be played and champoionship games pending. purely hypothetical**

Current AP Rankings as of 11/9/2015

RK TEAM
1 Clemson(31)     9-0
2 Ohio State(26)   9-0
3 Alabama(2)        8-1
4 Baylor(2)             8-0
5 Oklahoma State 9-0
6 Notre Dame        8-1
7 Stanford               8-1
8 Iowa                     9-0 
9 LSU                      7-1
10 Utah                   8-1 
11 Florida               8-1 
12 Oklahoma         8-1
13 TCU                   8-1 
14 Michigan State 8-1
15 Michigan           7-2
16 Houston            9-0 
17 North Carolina 8-1
18 UCLA                 7-2 
19 Florida State     7-2
20 Mississippi State 7-2
21 Temple              8-1 
22 Navy                   7-1 
23 Wisconsin         8-2
24 Northwestern    7-2
25 Memphis            8-1

Champions:

SEC - Florida
Big 10 - Ohio State
Big 12 - Oklahoma State
PAC 12 - Stanford
ACC - Clemson

Next Three:

Alabama
Baylor
Notre Dame

Seeds: (Based on AP Rank of Conference champs then Next Three)
1. Clemson
2. Ohio State
3. Oklahoma State
4. Stanford
5. Florida
6. Alabama
7. Baylor
8. Notre Dame

Bracket:

8 Notre Dame vs 1 Clemson  at Orange Bowl
7 Baylor vs 2 Ohio State           at Sugar Bowl
6 Alabama vs 3 Oklahoma St  at Fiesta Bowl
5 Florida vs 4 Stanford              at Rose Bowl

Semi-Final would be reseeded accordingly.

Again purely hypothetical, but the best answer to the problem.