There are bad ideas, and then there are really bad ideas.
And, the idea of the college football playoffs expanding from four to eight teams, is well, a very bad idea.
An expansion to eight, you would think, would be based on evidence that the semifinal games in the playoff would be must-watch TV. But, that simply isn’t the case.
In four years of semifinal games, here are the margins of victory in each: 39, 7, 20, 38, 31, 17, 6 and 18. In other words, six of the eight games have been lopsided affairs.
Only two games, including Ohio State’s 42-35 win over Alabama in the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl, have been quality games.
Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said recently that he saw an “appetite” for playoff expansion. Well, it’s time to suppress that appetite.
Coaches would love to see the playoff go to eight teams, and so would the bowls. A New Year’s Six game such as the Allstate Sugar Bowl would theoretically be, at the very least, a national quarterfinal each year.
However, are fans now going to travel to three bowl games in one season to watch their team win a championship?
Coaches love the playoff because, they can say, “Hey, I made the playoff.” And, of course, collect a lucrative bonus.
An eight-team playoff this season would include a Georgia team that lost its two biggest games of the year, at LSU and against Alabama in the SEC Championship.
Ohio State would be in after a 12-1 season, which included a 49-20 loss at Purdue.
Would Michigan get consideration, despite a 62-39 loss to the Buckeyes in Columbus?
Central Florida, LSU’s opponent in the Fiesta Bowl, would certainly get in, especially after its most impressive regular-season win, 31-30, over Memphis. LOL!
The great thing about college football used to be the importance of every game in the regular season. If you had a special regular season, you had a chance to play for a national championship.
If it were a two-team playoff, Alabama would have been left out last year after a 26-14 loss at Auburn. In 2007, LSU got in with two losses, and rightly so. Both of those defeats were in triple overtime.
That season, LSU defeated six ranked teams and proved its mettle in the BCS Championship with a smashing of Ohio State.
However, expansion is likely coming, and it will yield bad quarterfinal football. Trust me.
So, next week, in the semifinals, Alabama will likely win in lopsided fashion over Oklahoma. Clemson vs. Notre Dame has a chance to be a really good game, but if it isn’t, it will be a part of a five-year sample that should indicate to all that the last thing college football needs is an eight-team playoff.
In 1998, I heard a lot of Tulane fans say they would have loved to have played the University of Tennessee in a national quarterfinal. Me? No thanks, I will pass.
That year, Tennessee defeated six ranked teams, and Tulane defeated, well, none. Tulane had a great team, and went to the Liberty Bowl and won. The players carried offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez off the field. It was a stellar moment.
Tulane’s season ended exactly the way it should. That is, on a high. And, not getting whacked against a superior opponent in the first game of a needless eight-team playoff.
Ed Daniels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.