The inaugural four-team playoff in the 2014-15 College Football season was an instant success, attracting record-breaking TV ratings and millions of dollars, while also providing a lot of entertainment to NCAA Football betting fanatics. But even with the unique opportunity given to fans to watch more playoff games than former BCS system, there has been a lot of lobbying by various CFB pundits on a further expansion of the college football playoff in order to accommodate more teams.
Does NCAA Need to Expand its College Football Odds Postseason?
Reasons an Expanded Postseason Would be a Good Thing
Commendably, taking the step from the previous system to the four-team playoff and 76 teams playing in 39 bowl games in 2014 was a step in the right direction towards satisfying the cries for more postseason action. In fact, the Bowlanza season will get even bigger in the upcoming season with two new bowls, meaning 80 teams will get a chance to participate in the postseason games. However, there are still a number of concerns that are yet to be addressed by the new playoff system. For example:
- There are instances when you will have an undefeated team from the “minor” conferences and no undefeated team from the “major” conference, yet the playoff committee disregards the undefeated lower-conference team on the basis of playing a weak strength of schedule
- In other instances, you have an undefeated or one-loss team that is deserving of the top-4, but is kept out due to the limited playoff spots. A good example is last season’s disqualification of TCU and Baylor from the top-4, when many people could easily make a case for their worthiness, just like the Buckeyes who got the nod.
- There are times when making a choice in a power conference is complicated by the fact that a No. 2 team in the power conference deserves a shot in the playoffs, but is kept out because No. 1s get the favored treatment.
Based on such complications, expanding the college football playoff to 6 or even 8 teams could easily accommodate such worthy teams. For example, if the 2014 season accommodated the top-8 teams, we could have easily had the likes of Baylor, TCU, Michigan State or even Boise State making its own Cinderella run like Ohio State.
Besides giving deserving teams a chance in the playoffs, the 2014 NCAA Football playoffs was good for business and could soar to higher heights with an expansion. For example, the national semifinals attracted ESPN’s largest overnight rating ever in cable television history. Then 12 days later, the Ducks-Buckeyes final eclipsed the semifinal games, drawing a whopping average of 33.4 million viewers. Simply put, many people tuned in for the playoff games and greatly enjoyed the first College Football Playoff. Even more importantly, the four-team playoff generated nearly $300 million extra revenue than the BCS did.
By increasing the playoffs, the money-minded executives would be able to have their thrill of racking up millions, while giving the public what they want. After all, with the 100-plus teams in the college football league, it would only make sense to give more playoff options for better representation of the league’s vast competition, rather than just piling up small-time bowl games, some of which aren’t that important anyway.
Can the Playoffs be Expanded Anytime Soon?
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock has firmly insisted that the commissioners have no plans of expanding the playoffs anytime soon. Making the matter seem more like an impossibility in the near future, reports from the league indicate that Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and each of the 10 FBS conference commissioners agreed to sign a 12-year agreement to keep the playoffs at four teams through to the 2026 season. Undoing such deliberations will thus take a lot of convincing and time.
Having changed to the four-team playoff system, something that looked utterly impossible, there is hope that the commissioners could decide to stretch the system once again in the future. Plus, most of the major sports in nation, including MLB, NFL and NHL, have expanded playoffs, setting precedence for similar changes in the league. However, based on the current unwavering stand by the commissioners, it looks like, in the meantime, we will have to do with the 13-member selection committee choosing the four best teams to play in two semifinals and a national championship game, while continuing to hope for the changes to occur sooner rather than later.