The playoff system has ruined college football


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Collin Kilpatrick, Sports Editor

The playoff system has ruined college football. The system was put in place in 2014, and since then football fans have seen nothing but repetitive matchups, and deserving teams being excluded from the four team tournament.

In its seven year existence we have seen Alabama vs Clemson four times, with three of those matchups occurring in the national championship. These programs, however, are the most deserving of playing for a national championship on a yearly basis. The problem does not lie in the fact that these matchups are happening so consistently, the problem is that the playoff system has decreased the value of other matchups, and bowl games. 

With so much emphasis now being placed on teams making the playoffs, many fans have no reason to watch bowl games that are not included as part of the playoffs. In the years that the Rose Bowl has not been used as a playoff game, the once prestigious bowl has seen its TV ratings slip to the lowest in its history. With no other important bowl games being played other than the playoffs, fans are forced to watch the same repetitive matchups every year. 

The previous system, called the “BCS,” had its flaws, yet it still provided interesting matchups, and did a far better job at rewarding teams for successful seasons. The BCS consisted of five prestigious bowl games including a national championship game, in total, ten teams had the ability to compete in a respected bowl game. Playing in a BCS game was seen as a great accomplishment, and something for teams to strive for. The current system tries to include the idea of having prestigious bowls outside of the playoffs; however, these bowls seem less like something for teams to strive for, and more like a weak consolation prize for teams who narrowly missed the playoffs. Because of the lack of importance placed on non-playoff bowl games many top players choose to opt out of their teams bowl game if they do not make the playoffs. 

There are far too many teams in the NCAA for only four to be able to compete for a national championship. It is impossible to say who the four best teams in the country are in any given year, due to the lack of parity among college football teams’ schedules. We have seen yearly, deserving teams not be able to compete for a national championship. In 2017 there was only one undefeated team in all of division one football, this team was UCF. UCF was left out of the playoff because they did not play in a top conference, and therefore had a weak schedule. In their bowl game UCF played the number seven ranked team in the country, Auburn University, which UCF won. 

There is no perfect solution as to how to fix the college football postseason, one idea many people have discussed is expanding the playoffs from four teams. An expansion to six or eight teams would allow for the champions from all of the power five conferences, along with at least one team from a conference outside of the power five to be included in the playoffs. The idea of expansion has been thrown around for years now, and it is possible that we will see it happen, but for now we are stuck with the outdated four team playoff.