As Alabama gets set to take on Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship game one thing is for certain, these are the two best teams in the land. This season has proven to everybody that Clemson and Alabama were just stronger and better than the entire country. It’s rare to have the top two teams be so clearly better, but it does happen sometimes. Sometimes, a few years in a row.
It also could be the best example there is to avoid expanding the College Football Playoff. For now at least. The championship game might be about those two teams (again and again), but no one can pretend this isn’t going to be one of the most strongly debated discussion points leading into, during, and after the game is played. Who actually wins doesn’t matter as much as the matchup for the title is right.
It’s about if teams like Ohio State, UCF, and Georgia deserved a shot to prove that they should be playing in this game. With the Big 10 being left out of the playoff for the third year in a row, the Pac-12 missing out this season, and UCF going undefeated two years in a row it felt like there was a lot of momentum for change. Could expansion finally be on the way?
Talks for that were quickly shut down Monday by the playoff committee, though, as they made it clear: It’s not happening anytime soon. Via CBS Sports.
“As far as expanding the number of teams in the Playoff, it’s way too soon – much too soon – to know if that is even a possibility,” said board of managers president Mark Keenum. “It’s fair to say the speculation about expansion has outdistanced the reality of what the commissioners and the presidents have discussed. If a decision were to be made down the road, the Presidents would be the ones to make it and we are not there.”
This is a little disheartening to see them shut down the idea of even discussing expansion. The playoff has been extremely successful so far, but it’s clearly a flawed system that could use at least a few tweaks. Unfortunately, even with two major conferences and an undefeated G5 team put on the outside looking in, the committee just doesn’t seem interested in going down a path that includes more than four teams in the playoff. Not yet, anyway.
In the committee’s defense, the playoff could easily be expanded to eight teams and some of the same problems would arise with which team was more deserving than the others. There’s also the issue of adding more games, deciding what to do about conference championships, and making it all work in school calendars. Far more goes into the expansion process than just selecting four additional teams, you know.
That said, ever since the playoff was first conceived the idea of eight teams was floated out there. It feels like some day, at some point, there will be an eight-team playoff. It’s just a question of when rather than if. Once the schools all agree that an eight-team playoff is required then it’s going to happen. They will make it happen. For now, though, it’s not happening. In other words, we’ll see you all here again next season where we’ll talk about this all over again.