After an unpredictable, COVID-19 filled season, the College Football Playoff is officially set. Following the conference championship matchups, there was a lot of speculation over whether or not Ohio State would, or even should, get a spot in the top four.
The Buckeyes only played six games and didn’t really beat any major teams. A lurking threat to the Buckeyes was Texas A&M, who finished 8-1 and made a clear case for themselves as a potential playoff team this season.
Ohio State managed to squeeze past Northwestern 22-10 in a tough Big Ten Championship Game but didn’t exactly make a statement for themselves.
They were trailing 10-6 most of the game and scored a late touchdown in the waning minutes to make it a 12-point win. In their defense, the Buckeyes were missing about 20 players. But they were supposed to roll in this one regardless, and they didn’t.
Nevertheless, the committee decided Ohio State is still a top-four team, snubbing Texas A&M, who finished 5th in the final AP rankings. Notre Dame is still in at #4 after getting crushed by Clemson 34-10 in the ACC Championship.
Alabama looks to keep rolling against Notre Dame while we also get a rematch of last year’s semifinals with Clemson vs. Ohio State. Clemson vs. Ohio State features potentially the top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft with quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields.
Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney clearly isn’t worried about his semifinal opponent, as he didn’t even have Ohio State in the top ten of the final Coaches Poll.
Always interesting to look through the final Coaches Poll ballots. Dabo apparently doesn’t think much of the @OhioStateFB team he’s preparing to face in the CFP.
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) December 21, 2020
The final playoff rankings are an argument every year, as there’s always at least one team ranked between five and eight that had been great all year but never earned a top-four spot.
This is the problem with the College Football Playoff.
Every year, we see why the playoff should be expanded from four teams, and that’s exactly what should happen. The committee most likely had these teams in the back of their minds all year. And ultimately, they knew this is what the playoff was going to look like.
The problem with this small playoff is it virtually eliminates those teams that round out the top ten before the season even starts. They don’t stand a chance to make the playoff even when only losing one or two games.
Regardless of team record, though, any sports fan knows that any team can win on any given day.
In the words of Hall of Fame NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson, “Any man can be beat.”
So why, in as crazy and uncertain of a season they knew this one would be, would they not expand the playoff to eight teams?
In 2020, we saw the MLB expand its playoff format from ten teams to 16. We saw the NBA enter a bubble and insert play-in formats for the bottom seeds. The NFL even added an extra wild card team in each conference. Why can’t college football do the same?
You make the College Football Playoff eight teams, and everything is so much easier. Ohio State makes a spot with zero debate, and it gives those 6-10 teams who played hard all year a fighting chance.
It would also be an extra week or two of college football, which we’d all love.
Going off the final AP Top 25 Rankings released Dec. 20, an eight-team College Football Playoff would look like this:
#1 Alabama vs. #8 Oklahoma
#2 Clemson vs. #7 Indiana
#3 Ohio State vs. #6 Cincinnati
#4 Notre Dame vs. #5 Texas A&M
How great would this be?
I’m not saying the upset train would ever reach the station, but A&M, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Oklahoma have each proven they can hang with pretty much anybody, especially in a crazy year like 2020.
And in the playoffs, anything is possible.
While Alabama and Clemson would most likely win the first round, Ohio State and Notre Dame would definitely be challenged considering how they looked this past weekend.
An eight-team playoff makes the already electric college football atmosphere even more amazing. A #6-#8 seed pulling off an upset in the first round is exactly what these college football playoffs need.
It’s something for the committee to consider entering next season. And unless you’re an Alabama or Clemson fan… you should want this too.
Lifelong sports fan fulfilling a childhood dream. I’ll talk sports all day. Passion and hot takes are my thing… there’s always a story. Yankees. NY Giants. Knicks. Texas Longhorns. Yes… being a Knicks fan is rough, but my time will come (hopefully). Senior at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.