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  • Bill Chastain

Playoff System No Better Than Before

Recently I watched a 30 for 30 detailing the 1969 Texas-Arkansas game, and how the winner was ceremoniously ordained the college football national champions.

At one point, they crowed about how inefficient the system had been when that happened, inferring that today’s system is superior to that prehistoric time in college football.

While I agreed that the system used back in the day wasn’t right, I can’t back what’s going on now. The reigning system remains the only ambiguous crown in college sports, leaving players and coaches scratching their heads trying to figure out what criteria matters for inclusion in the playoffs.

Let’s see, you must win and you must hope that the playoff committee believes you’re more attractive than other candidates. Created in the process is a system that has the mentality of: “Well, such and such team might have lost, but they’re better than so-and-so, who is undefeated.”

Consider this scenario. What happens if Auburn wins out. That would include defeating Alabama, moving on to the SEC championship game, then defeating Georgia again. Based on how the committee has decided things, Auburn would likely be rewarded by having to play Alabama again in the playoffs.

Don’t think brand doesn’t matter.

It’s ludicrous, particularly when there’s a simple fix: Let the teams decide the championship by playing for it.

A six-team playoff needs to be created. Under this system, each of the five power conferences crown a champion, and the rest of the teams in those conferences are eliminated. That leaves one team to be added at large from the remaining teams, and the decision on that at-large team would be made by the committee. In addition, the committee would slot the six teams, and the top two teams would receive byes.

Makes too much sense, right?

Sadly, the fates of what teams get to play for the championship will continue to be decided by a group of people sitting in a room talking about strength of schedule, the eye test, and margins of victory rather than having the actual teams battle in the trenches for those coveted spots.

I love college football, but it could be so much better.