College Football Warrants Larger Playoff, Should Look to Expand in Future

Sam Lance, Sports Editor

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Only one game. The best two teams in the country playing for a national title. This was the college football of old, the boring college football.

In 2014 college football changed its one game championship to a four team playoff. Yet many fans and experts believe it should be even further expanded to eight teams.

College football is the second most popular spectator sport in all of America—in front of the MLB and NBA and behind the NFL— according to Time.

The annual revenue for college football has nearly doubled to $3.4 billion since the playoff was introduced in 2014. Boosting the playoffs to eight teams could increase revenue even more with more games and TV coverage.

Besides increased revenue, the current four team playoff just doesn’t do the game justice. With only four spots, at least one of the major conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big 10, ACC, and PAC 12) would be left out.

“The current system leaves too many good teams out,” Griffin Kraut, an avid college football fan and senior said. “The picking of the top four teams is biased in my opinion.

Many would argue that other bowl games like the Orange Bowl and the Rose Bowl for the teams ranked five and beyond should keep teams and fans satisfied. Yet, it doesn’t out match the fact that the teams ranked 5-8 are left out of contention for a national title.

In a statement to ESPN, ACC commissioner John Swofford said, “You have four teams that get a chance to play for the national championship, which is twice as many as before. But whoever’s fifth or sixth is not going to be happy.”

Last year Penn State hoped for a playoff spot. However, Ohio State received a spot in the playoff over them, even though they lost to Penn State earlier in the year, and Penn State was left out of the playoff picture and ranked fifth in the country.

With an eight team format, this would not have happened. A team with a good record and resume of a spot would not have been cut out.

“Honestly, nothing is stopping them,” Kraut said. “They already have bowl games in place for the five to eight seeds, so why not add them to the playoffs?”

In an ESPN poll of over 100 FBS coaches, 44 percent of coaches prefer an eight team playoff compared to 29 percent who prefer the current four team system.

“Eight teams would give more teams the opportunity for a championship and would be more intriguing for the fans,” Max Ringering, a junior and college football fan said.

Another junior fan, Zac Crutchfield, disagrees. The four team format is perfect because it allows only the most elite teams to be in the playoff, he said.

“Adding more teams would lower competition,” Crutchfield said. “Also adding a whole next week to the season making an eight team playoff would only be a burden to the college players and fans.”
However, fans would still tune in to watch the championship. Even if it’s pushed back another week, ratings would not surrender for a big time game.

“Who doesn’t love more football,” Kraut said. “The players get an extra shot at going to the championship. I don’t see any harm in that.”

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