What’s the best part about March Madness? It’s the upsets, right?
This is why I don’t understand why the NCAA hasn’t expanded the College Football Playoff to eight teams. Four isn’t enough to truly test the teams who actually do get in, and it doesn’t give the teams who don’t a shot at the title they deserve.
It’s hard to argue that the four teams in this year’s playoff aren’t the four best teams in the country, especially with the committee’s selection model, which seems to weigh quality losses and conference championships over bad losses and low quality wins.
That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be more teams with a shot to win it all. We’ve been wrong before about who was the best team (see UVA and UMBC in basketball just last year). Is the difference between Oklahoma and Georgia (and even Ohio St) enough that we aren’t convinced they deserve a shot?
Going beyond Georgia and Oklahoma, how can we keep a team like UCF out? They’ve been undefeated two years in a row, and their last loss came before many of this year’s sophomores had even made their college decisions. They even beat a #7 Auburn team in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl last year that had a victory over eventual National Champion Alabama.
Bottom line: if a team goes undefeated in college basketball, regardless of schedule or conference, is there any way they are deprived of a chance at a National Championship? No shot.
Did UCF deserve to be in this year? Like I said, based on the committee’s model, probably not. But it exposes the flaws with the current model. It seems to deprive teams not in a power five conferences any shot at winning the national championship. That doesn’t seem right to me, because if an undefeated team can’t make it in over one loss teams, then who outside of a power five conference will?
This brings me to how it should be fixed: an eight team playoff.
Each power five conference champion gets in. This would relieves the committee of another awkward problem: having a four team playoff and five major conferences.
Then the other three spots are filled with at-large bids, just like how the committee fills out their 68-team bracket for basketball. One of those spots could have gone to UCF this year, giving them the chance they deserve to win the National Championship.
Here’s my guess at what an eight team playoff would look like, based on this year’s rankings, with a small tweak.
#1 Alabama (SEC) versus #8 Washington. (PAC-12)
#2 Clemson versus #7 UCF (at-large).
#3 Notre Dame (at large) versus #6 Ohio State (Big-10).
#4 Oklahoma (Big-12) versus #5 Georgia (at-large).
The only potential change I made was UCF as the last at-large team over Michigan despite the fact Michigan is ranked higher. I don’t see how the committee can justifiably keep an undefeated team with wins over quality, albeit not SEC, teams.
Don’t know about you, but that would be a lot more fun in my eyes. Just the added potential of the upsets does a lot, but add in the fact that Alabama has one extra step to go through to win it all makes it all a lot harder.
I’m in for the change, but is the committee?