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College Football Playoff Expansion: Is It Needed?

College football playoff expansion: Is it needed? College football fans have enjoyed the college football playoffs since its inception in 2014. When it was announced that playoffs were coming, fans became excited. Once fans found out that it would be only a four-team playoff series, they were not as thrilled; I wasn’t thrilled, but, hey, we finally had playoffs.  Now, six years in, I feel we really need to take a good look at what the playoff series has become and if it needs to expand.

Dynasties Begin To Rise

The playoff’s first four teams were the Ohio State Buckeyes, Alabama Crimson Tide, The Oregon Ducks, and The Florida States Seminoles. Those three games of the playoffs were exciting and entertaining, with Ohio State winning the inaugural playoff. I personally felt the playoffs were headed in the right direction until about the third year when Alabama was starting to show they were the cream of the crop and would be in the playoffs every year. Then, Clemson quickly rose to be their annual challenger for the title. Now the playoffs see Ohio State regularly returning, which leaves room for only one other team to get in. I feel that things aren’t going to get any better. We will see the same two or three teams playing in the playoffs year after year. Now, because of this, fans are wanting the playoffs to expand in an effort to see different teams play. Truth be told, at first, we will likely see the same three teams in the semi-finals and end up with the same type of Championship game.

Is College Football Playoff Expansion really needed?

I hope to see more teams in the playoffs in order to give us those games we wouldn’t normally see. I know that is what the bowl games are supposed to be for, but fans really want to see their favorite teams play for championships, not just bowl game wins. If we are being sincere, playing a bowl game doesn’t mean as much as it once did to top players. Your high-profile players would rather sit the bowl games out; they don’t feel it’s important enough to take a chance on getting hurt. The players are making business decisions about their careers. Some of these players only play in the Senior Bowl, where they can play against some of the best players in the country. No top players have sat out any of the playoff games as of yet.

A Trend For College Football Playoff Expansion

In my opinion, the players will dictate which teams will become the new contenders for the championship. College football players in this era are not just in school to get an education; they are chasing the dream of being drafted by an NFL team once their college career is over. Right now, Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State are putting a lot of players into the NFL, so more top players in the country are gravitating to those teams. Some of these players are willing to sit on the bench and wait their turn for a shot at the pros, even though they could be starting at different schools. The players feel it is worth the wait. While they wait, they improve their skills and eventually gain visibility when they get the chance to play.

What Might Happen In College Football Playoff Expansion

Let us say, for example, you expand the playoffs to eight teams. Those first few years, you will get different teams popping in and out of the playoffs, but things will settle down, and a few will become mainstays. Some of the players who were on the bench for Clemson, Alabama, and Ohio State will go to those new playoff teams, giving us more exciting match-ups. Expanding the playoff series may draw some of those players, who would normally be waiting their turn at the bigger schools, to go to a different school where they have a chance to start. Playoff expansion may get some of these players’ teams into the playoffs and those players on the field where they can be seen by NFL scouts. The unfortunate thing is that you may still see the same teams getting in every year. With some states making it legal for student-athletes to get paid for their likenesses, that may spread the talent around even further.

The New Importance Of Bowl Games

The importance of bowl games has changed in recent years. It is no longer just a chance for players winding down their career with no real shot at a pro career to go out on a winning note. Sometimes it helps players on the bubble have one last chance to impress pro scouts. It can also help a player improve their draft status. Coaches love bowl games because it gives them a few more weeks of practice to help improve some of the younger guys. Bowl games offer little to top players who are already expected to go high in the draft. However, they do pose an injury risk which could hurt their future. For the most part, the bowls have lost their luster over the years, even with some very intriguing matchups. Hopefully, with playoff expansion, the door could open for more great matchups in the bowl games.

The College Football Playoff’s Evolution

In order for the College football playoff to continue to be a success, I feel it has to evolve and add more teams. It only makes sense to go in this direction. Fans want to see some of these smaller schools, who are having a great year, compete for a championship. Suppose you look at the college basketball model for March Madness. It gives that Cinderella team a chance at the title. I do not expect Division I college football to have a 64 team field, but it could have a 6 or 8 team field. Division II College football already has a 28 team playoff. Larger playoffs bring their own drama. It is not always who is the best team, but who is playing the best at that moment. That is what fans want to see happen, and it can spawn incredible moments that are always remembered. So, come on College football playoffs, it is time to grow up and grow bigger; expansion is needed!

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Written by Kenny Houston

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