Let the talk of expansion begin

Friday, December 1, 2017

For the first time in the existence of the college football playoff, a serious case to expand the playoff to eight teams will be made. Alabama, the darlings of college football, lost to Auburn on Saturday and might very well be left on the outside looking in for the first time in four years.

If the Crimson Tide were to get in, the playoff committee would be leaving out a highly qualified Ohio State team that won the Big 10 Championship with two losses. Buckeye Nation would not be happy with that, so either way two prominent fan bases will be expressing their desire to expand the college football playoff to eight teams. I may not be a prominent supporter of Ohio State or Alabama, but I will back them on the playoff expansion idea, as I have firmly believed that eight is the number they should have started with.

Everyone against expanding the playoff to eight teams always says adding an extra game will hurt the players academically and it will also be bad for their health. I mostly agree with that sentiment. The more you are away from school, the less time you have in the classroom. The longer the season goes, the more bruised a player becomes. What seems to get lost in this is that the playoff itself only involves four teams. The Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) started as a four-team playoff in 1978 and has since expanded to 24 teams. FCS schools have had to play 15 games to win a national championship far longer than FBS schools and nobody seems to care about this.

It would not be smart to expand the FBS playoff to 24 teams. There aren't that many teams that could win the championship and it would make the season too long. Eight teams would be a good number, though. Start the regular season a week earlier and keep the same number of games currently on the schedule. The power five conference champions get in automatically and then the three highest remaining teams qualify after that. The two teams that qualify for a championship game would be playing a 16th game, but what's one more game to decide a champion?

Ty Loftis is the sports editor for the Carroll County News. His email is CCNSports@cox-internet.com.

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