By Adam Gibson | Assistant News Editor
College football is one of the nation’s most beloved sports. With all of the upsets, rivalries and bowl games, the sport is continually a great source of entertainment.
In the relatively new college football playoffs, only the top four ranked teams make it to the semi-finals, and only two make it to the finals. While this may seem like the playoffs includes the best teams, upsets that happen late in the season can cause debate in who really deserves to be in the top four. To make sure the truly best teams compete in the final, the playoffs should expand to include the top eight teams each January.
This year, more so than the past three years, college football rankings were shaken up toward the end of the season. Alabama has been a dominant force in college football, having won five national championships since 2009. The team has also gone to all of the College Football Playoffs since 2014 and is the only team to do so. This year, they won yet again, defeating Georgia 26-23 in a thrilling overtime shootout.
In the week 14 rankings, the week before the College Football Playoff Committee chose the top four, the rankings changed to make way for two new teams in the top four. No. 1 Alabama was upset by No. 6 Auburn 26-14, and No. 2 Miami was upset by unranked Pittsburgh. With No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Oklahoma winning their matchups by large margins, they moved up to take the first two spots.
As a result of then No. 1 Alabama losing, it was also knocked out of the SEC Championship. The possibility that Alabama might not have made it into the playoffs does not make any sense to people who keep up with college football. Anyone who knows about college football knows how high of a level Alabama plays the game. In the previous NFL Draft, Alabama had the second most draft picks with 10, four of which were in the first round, proving the elite talent Alabama football has.
At 12-0 in the week 14 rankings, Wisconsin was the only undefeated team in the top 10. Due to strength of schedule, it took the No. 4 spot. The four teams outside of the playoff spots, No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Miami and No. 8 Ohio State were all fighting to claim a spot after the conference championship games. Every one of these teams besides Alabama were involved in its conference championship. Depending on how those games went, the final playoff teams are set.
With all of these talented and deserving teams competing for only four spots throughout the regular season, it is almost impossible to choose the best teams due to the upsets that can occur throughout college football.
The last spot is where the most controversy usually occurs. Whether this spot goes to the winner of a conference championship or someone who isn’t even in a conference championship will be up to the playoff committee. This year, Wisconsin held this spot going into the last week before the final rankings were released. After edging out Alabama, Wisconsin was the last team in going into the next round. The only thing that Alabama could do was wait to see how the Big 10 championship goes.
With only the top four teams moving onto the playoffs, we are not able to see what talent truly deserves to win the National title. Eight teams would be an ideal size since they would include the always controversial fourth and fifth-ranked teams, and three more right behind them.
Ohio State was a prime example of a team that should have been in the playoffs, especially when you consider the fact that they won their conference, but were snubbed by Alabama in the final rankings that set the playoffs.
While Alabama and Oklahoma did have a game for the ages, it should have been Ohio State playing Oklahoma since it not only won its conference, but actually went to its conference championship. Alabama should have been in the playoffs if there were eight teams because it was deserving of the No. 5 spot. However, Alabama seemingly only got into the top four because of its reputation of how it played in seasons past.
If the top eight teams were included into the playoffs, we would get to see much more talent and there is a good chance that there are many games that will still keep you on the edge of your seat. It would also make it more challenging for teams to get to the final, revealing who truly deserves to be crowned as the best team in college football.
While some of the games would go to the higher ranked opponent, there would be some teams that are upset and give way to a more deserving team. This would make the playoffs not only more fun to watch, but also a true contest.