NCAA Football Playoffs: A Field of 16 Will Be Best

college football

The new Selection Committee for the “College Football Playoffs” meets today and will announce their present running order of leaders for the four playoff opportunities that will be there at season’s end of the NCAA Division I 2014 season. This 7:30 PM CDT announcement today, 10/28/14, and like all others to come, from here to the end, is likely to remain politically argumentative, subjective, and insufficient from now until the last ballot is taken.


It’s largely simple math. The increase to a 4-team committee selected field from the 2-team championship game picks selected for years by the BCS does little to cover the much larger field of schools with comparable records and similar strength of schedule situations that will still believe at season’s that they have been out-politicized in the “red zone” at final ballot crunch time.

They will be correct, of course. The new committee cannot pick 4 teams at season’s end at the risk of leaving out another 4 to 12 other schools that appear just as deserving on the basis of their records and comparably as strong playing schedules.

What can be done to improve the situation to a greater state of equity?

Another simple answer occurs, but it is only so in mathematical terms. Egos in the power structure struggles of NCAA sports and the new elite super-conferences simply cannot allow anything to be simple until they are absolutely sure it will not decrease their control of opportunities in the college football money stream. Equity is certainly not the goal of the new elite super conferences. Their goal is to establish themselves even more firmly as the only true prime time players while all others joust about as the club fighters of boxing do. – The latter will be allowed to improve their statuses as gate attractions and worthy opponents to smear in early season and homecomings for the high and mighty – but they will never be quite good enough for an invitation to the club’s big dance,

Without the fore-stated political reality, the mathematical answer really is simple. It’s the same one that people have been arguing for years: Expand the playoff field to 16 teams and then rearrange the meaningless bowl games that these extra teams would be playing anyway to accommodate the four-round, fifteen game schedule it would take to go from 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 final teams playing for the national championship. The current committee could still function as the selection monitor for the 16 entrant schools, but there would be far less grumbling at season’s end that a potential national champion had been denied its obvious opportunity by a pejorative  selection process via the committee.

A glance below at the AP Top 25 Rankings through Week 10 of the 2014 College Football Season should make it abundantly clear, if this were the end of the season, that a field of 16 teams in the future would be much fairer by its inclusivity of most, if not all serious contenders than the field of only 4 schools that will be picked in 2014.

If you think that 4 teams is enough, take a look at the list here and ask yourself these two questions: (1) Are there four teams here that are unarguably better than all the rest? (2) If the system expanded to 16 teams in the future, hasn’t college football greatly reduced the chance that some potential national champion has been left out of the contending field?

As per usual here at The Pecan Park Eagle, if you are someone  who follows and cares about college football, we would like to know what you think on this subject. Does this suggestion make sense to you? Do you think the 4-team new system that’s in play this year is good enough? Or would you suggest some other solution?

AP Top 25
1 Mississippi State (46) 7-0 1486
2 Florida State (14) 7-0 1453
3 Alabama 7-1 1290
4 Auburn 6-1 1267
5 Oregon 7-1 1199
6 Notre Dame 6-1 1161
7 Ole Miss 7-1 1095
8 Michigan State 7-1 1086
9 Georgia 6-1 1074
10 TCU 6-1 1030
11 Kansas State 6-1 930
12 Baylor 6-1 839
13 Ohio State 6-1 676
14 Arizona 6-1 669
15 Arizona State 6-1 667
16 LSU 7-2 574
17 Nebraska 7-1 535
18 Utah 6-1 524
19 Oklahoma 5-2 430
20 West Virginia 6-2 379
21 East Carolina 6-1 366
22 Clemson 6-2 265
23 Marshall 8-0 184
24 Duke 6-1 121
25 UCLA 6-2 106



3 Responses to “NCAA Football Playoffs: A Field of 16 Will Be Best”

  1. Bobby Copus Says:

    If Notre Dame wins out, I would put them in instead of Auburn. Their only loss would be a nail biter to Florida State, in Tallahasee, with a bad call against them. Just my opinion.

  2. Bill Gilbert Says:

    I agree that having only 4 teams involved will cause problems. However, expanding to 16 teams would add too many games. I think 8 teams is the best solution.

    Bill Gilbert

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Bill – Although I appreciate your concerns, what I’m suggesting would addc no games for the 8 teams that would lose in the first round, sine they would be playing the 8 first round games in some of the now lesser bowl games that currently play meaningless contests each December.

      Then eight survivors would play in the four major pay bowl games on New Years Day (Rose, Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar).

      The four survivors from New Years Day would then play the semi-finals two weeks later in two other re-slotted bowl games (perhaps, the Cotton and Peach Bowls) – with the championship game taking place another two weeks hence on either the Saturday prior or Monday Night following the Super Bowl at an annually awarded site, such as AT&T Stadium in Arlington or NRG Stadium in Houston.

      What fun! And completely do-able, if the will is there to do it.

      A field of 8 is still insufficient, in my opinion. If the season ended with the teams in this week’s poll as close to each other as they are now, selecting only 8 teams would still leave too much room for subjective politicking on the selected field. (Is there any other kind?)

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