Unnecessary Validation for the College Football Playoff

Oregon College Football

Unnecessary Validation for the College Football Playoff

Without the implementation of the College Football Playoff, this season’s national championship game would have likely been played by Alabama and Florida State. Alabama was the nation’s number one team, and it seems highly improbable that any former system would have removed an undefeated, Power 5, reigning national champ from the top two in the rankings.

The game would have been Bama versus FSU, the two teams who were eliminated during the playoff semifinals.

Everyone is now pointing to this fact as somehow validating the playoff system and throwing the old BCS under the bus, but that is silly. The playoff is valid because it works to give more than two teams a shot at the title. That is all it’s doing; that is all it can do. It was validated no matter the outcome of the semifinal games.

However, to say this is a better system simply because the two teams that won would not have made the old title game is shortsighted. It ignores the simple fact about playoffs in general, but especially playoff football: the best team doesn’t always win.

In a one-game showdown, upsets happen. College basketball thrives on this (until roughly the Elite Eight where everyone wants Cinderella teams to go away). The NFL has been stuck with this for better or worse for years now. Wildcard teams win Super Bowls.


To say the CFP is superior because Ohio State and Oregon advanced ignores two obvious facts.

1) If the semifinal games were played again, the same two teams might not win.

2) If Alabama had faced FSU for the championship, they would have been the deserving pair under the system that was in place.

You know what, if there was no playoff, Ohio State was not good enough this season to make the title game. Its loss to Virginia Tech early in the year when J.T. Barrett was still finding his sea legs would have been glaring enough to knock the Buckeyes from title contention.

Just like this year, with the four-team playoff, TCU was not good enough to make the title conversation. Its weak schedule combined with an embarrassing loss to Baylor (not based on differential but based on how they lost) was enough to knock the Horned Frogs from the top four.

There are rules in place to determine a champion. Just because people are satisfied with the outcome doesn’t mean the process was any more or less valid. This was one season. Just wait for the year when there are only two worthy title teams and a “weak” third or fourth team is unceremoniously added only to upset the favorite on some fluky plays and bad calls.

Will people still love the CFP or will they turn on it because an undeserving team is suddenly primed to be named national champ?


Bowl Central