I know I’m not the only one who has been confused, horrified, disgusted and simply mind-blown by the College Football Playoff Rankings this year. In fact, my entire outlook on every Tuesday night when the latest rankings are released live has completely changed. No longer am I asking the question of who’s in. Instead, I now ponder something along the lines of “How bad will it be this time?”
College Football Playoff Corruption
While the College Football Playoff started off as a great idea, it has quickly turned into a corrupt machine. Perhaps it was created by the NCAA with these exact intentions in mind from the start. Who else remembers the very first edition of the CFP back in 2014? Despite beating Iowa State 55-3, third-ranked TCU was penalized three spots from one week to the next, dropping them out of the playoff field of four.
Who assumed the final spot in their place? None other than Ohio State. Stop me when OSU getting preferential treatment from the College Football Playoff committee sounds familiar. After miraculously robbing the Horned Frogs of a postseason berth, the Buckeyes went on to win the National Championship. Sure, Ohio State proved themselves deserving of being in the playoff, but what part of a 55-3 win on the final week of the season proved TCU unworthy of a shot to contend for a national title? I’ll wait.
The selection committee’s top-25 rankings are more nonsensical this year than they’ve ever been before, which is saying something. A select few teams are receiving preferential treatment. This is only made more blatantly obvious by the high variance schedules that different schools have played in 2020. The committee’s so-called “logic” contradicts itself every single week. It seems that no amount of success is good enough for some teams to get a fair shake. At the same time, no amount of failure is bad enough for other teams to be dismissed from playoff contention. Seems totally fair, right?
16-Team Playoff Bracket
Is there a perfect solution to fix this broken system? No, for perfect does not exist in this life. But, I think I speak for college football fans and analysts everywhere when I say that we can certainly do better. Various alternatives to the current four-team College Football Playoff format have been floated and discussed on many talk shows. With expansion being at the heart of them all, it begs the question of just what a 16-team playoff would look like?
It turns out that the selection committee’s rankings are so bad this year that even a field of 16 is fair game for debate. Nonetheless, I’d be 100x more hyped for a 16-team playoff bracket based on the current rankings than the biased, fixed, money-grubbing scam we’ll be getting as a New Year’s present from the NCAA. If you’re a fan of college football and you don’t get the least bit excited gazing upon this hypothetical playoff bracket, then my name’s not Henry!
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At least the College Football Playoff committee is able to recognize that Alabama is the best team in the country. The No. 16 seed almost never beats the top team, even in March Madness. But a rock-solid Iowa Hawkeyes defense in Round 1 wouldn’t exactly be a pushover. Mac Jones, Najee Harris and the Crimson Tide offense would have to prove that they are as good as their reputation suggests to advance.
The 8-9 swing game between Cincinnati and Georgia would pit two of the nation’s top defenses against one another. The 5-12 games in March Madness have a track record of being ripe for chaos. Would Texas A&M be able to survive against the darling underdogs from Coastal Carolina? And in a world that has a way of sorting itself out, USC and Ohio State would get to square off for the right to be called the “Best Overrated Team to Only Play Five Games All Year.” I love it!
Notre Dame Bracket
In the other half of the bracket, Notre Dame takes on North Carolina’s high-octane offense that will be out for revenge. A regular season meeting between the teams went into halftime tied at 17 apiece, only to see Brian Kelly’s defense hold the Tar Heels scoreless in the second half. I highly doubt Mack Brown lets that happen in the playoff rematch. Don’t sleep on this 2-15 matchup!
The 7-10 game would be hyped up as a major shootout. Oklahoma’s defense may be better in 2020 than in years prior, but no one has found much success in stopping Florida this season. Kyle Trask and Spencer Rattler would be duking it out to advance to the College Football Playoff quarterfinals. Iowa State would tangle with Indiana in what, for my money, might be one of the more lopsided first-round games. Finally, despite technically being a Power 5 school, Northwestern would certainly be the David to Clemson’s Goliath in the 3-14 matchup.