The Everlasting Struggle of the College Football Playoffs


National Championship Trophy

Jack Powers, Copy Editor/Writer

Since the beginning of college football, it’s a tradition to hold end-of-year bowl games. Two teams from any conference of football are matched based on their record at the end of the season; however, with bowl games becoming less popular among the fans, the college football committee decided to make a college football playoffs.

“If you look at every other sport, they have a playoff at every level and every other college sport does as well. It’s not a four-team. Basketball goes from 64 to the Final Four,” said Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan Head football coach, on the Jamie and Stoney show. “I think that’s the way it should be done to have a national champion like they do in gymnastics, like they do in basketball, men’s and women’s, lacrosse, every other sport you can think of.”

The playoffs consist of a four-team bracket. All teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), division 1, have an equal opportunity to qualify for it based off of on-field performance. These four FBS teams are decided based on the NCAA committee’s overview and decision.

“I don’t like the fact that they only have four spots for playoffs. I think they should just expand the college football playoffs because there a lot of teams that should have opportunities to play,” said Supeacha Wanalapa, senior at Vista del Lago High School.

With the playoffs only hosting four teams, it leaves out other teams that could have a chance as the championship. “I think they need to expand the playoff system. I think the minimum should be 16 teams, but they could easily go with more than that … in other words, I want to see more football,” said Mike Leach, Washington State University football head coach, in a post-game interview.

The NCAA committee is also questioning the possibility of expanding the playoffs to more games. The only problem reported by the NCAA is the lengthening of the season affecting the physical health of the players.

Currently, college football averages 13 games in a season, with a maximum of 15 games if they go all the way to the National Championship game. The same goes for high school football; they have 10 games in a season, but can have up to 15 games if they advance to the State Championship. The NFL has a total of 16 games per season and up to 19 games if they advance through the playoffs to the Super Bowl.

“I mean, the (FCS) teams have been very successful at that model,” said Harbaugh, referencing the league’s 24-team, single-elimination format. “I think, if my math is right… if you play all the way through to a championship game, that would be 15 games. And through a 16-team playoff, that would be 16 games… Probably take away the championship, the league championship game. It would eliminate that one, and then so it could be 16 games.”

Many of these proposals come from the speculation of the committee not putting University of Southern Florida, who went undefeated two seasons in a row, into the playoffs both years.

“…There are so many teams that should be in the playoffs that are not. I mean out of the 130 college football teams, only four schools can even qualify for it,” said Wanlapa.

Until the NCAA can create a way for college football athletes to have proper rest, there is a possibility to see an extension to the playoffs. Within a season there needs to be a reduction to the amount of regular season games, as well as other  factors around traveling and education.