Exclusive! Before It’s News Contributor and former Sports Writer Scott Keisler Proposes an Eight Team College Football Playoff…and it makes a lot of sense!
Grapevine, Texas – While the who’s who of College Football enthusiastically debate which deserving team should earn the final spot in the four team College Football Playoff – Washington, Penn State, or Michigan – now is a great time to revisit a proposal I originally made over a year ago.
While it is interesting to see and hear Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, and Rece Davis talk about who should be in and who should be out, under my system these philosophical discussions – which admittedly make great TV – would be largely unnecessary.
I firstly want to say that I like the current system much better than the old system (and the system before that). It is definitely an improvement and a compromise that seemingly makes everybody happy, or at least happier. It is not my intent to trash the four team CFP as bad.
I just believe it could be even better.
My proposal is relatively simple so let’s get right into it.
Win your conference, punch your ticket
Each Power Five Conference Champion should be in. Period. Each respective winner of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and the SEC deserve a shot at the greatest prize of all, the beautiful CFP Trophy.
Winning your conference is a big deal and the current system minimizes this accomplishment. It creates the perception that the CFP is subjective and that it emphasizes potential over actual on the field performance. I have actually heard big names on ESPN say and I quote, “I don’t care about winning your conference.”
That really bothers me.
Case and point, Penn State. The Big Ten is the best conference in College Football this year – yes the Big Ten is better than the SEC – and Penn State won the Big Ten. Furthermore, Penn State beat Ohio State in a head to head match up, yet the consensus is that Ohio State is a lock for this year’s Playoff. Penn State, on the other hand, may very well be edged out by Washington, Pac-12 champions and another very deserving team.
Keep the CFP Rankings
If you are wondering whether the CFP rankings would be needed under my proposed system, the answer is yes! Why? My suggestion is that the two highest ranked teams in the CFP Rankings not to win their conference would also be in, filling spots six and seven. (Remember the first five spots go to the Power Five Conference Champions.)
This solves the Penn State – Ohio State dilemma mentioned above. Ohio State is ranked second in the penultimate CFP rankings and thus they would be included in the Playoff. Penn State also punches a ticket as they are the Big Ten champs. It’s a win-win.
The Power Five Conference Championship games become defacto Playoff games. (The Big 12 needs to join the party but that’s a different article).
The CFP Rankings are also needed for another reason, which we will see in a moment.
Who Gets the Final Spot?
This may be the most controversial part of my proposal but it might also might be my favorite part. I propose the creation of a second ranking system for the Group of Five Conferences.
The Group of Five Conferences are the other five (non-Power Five) conferences that make up the rest of FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision). FBS is Division I and FCS is Division I-AA.
The Group of Five consists of the American Conference, Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West, and the Sun Belt. These are all great leagues and I propose a Group of Five Top Five (an intentionally catchy title) to be released concurrently with the CFP Rankings.
Western Michigan, Navy, Houston, South Florida, Temple, Tulsa, Western Kentucky, Boise State, San Diego State, Appalachian State, and Troy - these are all outstanding teams and with a Group of Five Top Five ranking system we would get to talk about them more.
The best part is that whoever ends the year ranked first in the Group of Five Top Five, they get in the show! This year that team would almost certainly be Western Michigan.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Hoosiers, it is (loosely) based on a true story. Part of the mystique of the Indiana High School Basketball Tournament (before they changed it), was that every school – from the smallest little guy to the largest perennial powerhouse – was in the tournament. You didn’t have different classes based on school size. In 1954 tiny Milan High School, with a total enrollment of 161 students, beat Muncie Central 32-30 to win the Indiana State Championship.
By putting the Group of Five number one in the College Football Playoff you are injecting magic and imagination into the process – a process that can get bogged down at times with perception, popularity and politics.
To review, my eight team CFP system looks like this:
- **Spots 1-5 go to the Power Five Conference Champions
- **Spots 6 & 7 go to the two highest ranked CFP teams not to win their conference
- **Spot 8 goes to the Group of Five #1
Ranking them 1-8
In terms of seeding for the actual tournament we would go by the final CFP Rankings. Let’s look at last weeks rankings to demonstrate:
1. Alabama (SEC Champion)
2. Ohio State (At large #1)
3. Clemson (ACC Champion)
4. Washington (Pac-12 Champion)
5. Michigan (At large #2)
7. Penn State (Big Ten Champion)
9. Oklahoma (Big 12 Champion)
17. Western Michigan (Group of Five No. 1)
Then we simply re-seed one through eight and voila, we have our playoff:
8. Western Michigan
6. Penn State
2. Ohio State
The potential issues are:
- **You are creating an additional game and these are college students
- **The politics of figuring out which Bowls to add to the system
- **What if there is no clear cut Group of Five number one or what if the number one didn’t win their own conference? Do they still get the bid or does it go to the third highest ranked CFP team to not win their conference?
I truly believe this can be College Football’s final answer. It’s a great system and under it, if you don’t get in you don’t have an argument.
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