by Bryan Jackler
After years of criticism, the controversial NCAA Bowl Championship Subdivision Championship game has been replaced by the College Football Playoff, which gives the four top teams a chance to compete for the title. On Jan. 1, top-ranked Alabama will take on fourth-seed Ohio State, and second-seed Oregon will play third-seed Florida State; the winners will face off for the national championship. While the four-team playoff is better than the previous bowl system, the NCAA needs to continue the expansion of the playoff to a greater number of teams.
In the past, the top two teams, as determined by a selection committee, would automatically play in the championship game. This caused much controversy, as teams that potentially could be the top in the nation would not have had the opportunity to prove their worth.
Without the new playoff system, a team like third-ranked Florida State would not be in the title game, a travesty considering its status as defending champions and undefeated recordholders. Even though there will always be strong teams that just miss out on making the championship, such as this year’s Texas Christian squad, the new system is far more just.
While the four-team playoff is an improvement over the past system, the College Football Playoff should still be expanded further. Even though the four teams selected are unquestionably top tier, teams with legitimate shots at the national title are being excluded from getting the chance to compete for the championship.
It only took one regular season loss for Baylor and Texas Christian University, the first two teams out, to prevent them from making the playoff. Both teams beat multiple top-ten teams during the season, and the Horned Frogs’ only loss, in fact, came at the hands of Baylor. The Big 12 is seen by the selection committee as a lesser conference; as a result, these teams do not have the chance to show their abilities.
The system is still harsh, especially when Mississippi State is taken into consideration. The Bulldogs were the top team for most of the season, but after losing close games to first-seed Alabama and ninth-ranked Mississippi, they were effectively left for dead. Mississippi State was dropped to seventh in the rankings, which left them well out of playoff consideration.
The disparity between teams at the top tier of the game is not as great as NCAA believes it to be, so after a short period of time to adjust to the tournament format, it is imperative that the system is expanded to 8 or 16 teams. The NCAA took a step forward with the playoff, but in order to determine a rightful champion, more teams need to be included.