CFP format needs overhaul

Posted

Pardon the sports column this week.

This needed to be said.

In a recently-published article by espn.com, the Bowl Season group argued against using on-campus sites for an expanded College Football Playoff.

Why?

Their reasoning — keep the purity of bowl sites.

Seriously?

The current CFP is a joke.

It’s subjective, boring and needs new competition to help resuscitate lesser programs [those not from a Power 5 conference] that depend on football to fund their athletic departments and pay their bills.

The current 12-team model under consideration is the six highest-ranked conference champions squaring off against the next six highest-ranked teams. The top four receive byes, while the remaining eight play at campus sites.

In other words, it’s an overload of Power 5 teams.

The CFP management committee recently met in Dallas to discuss playoff expansion. I’ve yet to see any information from those meetings. Hopefully, the 11-person panel focused on a more viable solution that’s inclusive to all of college football and not just the high-profile schools.

In a letter obtained by espn.com, the Bowl Season group said “an expanded playoff should include all playoff games being playing within the traditional Bowl structure, not the home site of one of the participating teams.”

Nope.

I disagree.

The statement is asinine.

Dear committee members, college football would benefit with a playoff structure that will undoubtedly generate more revenue and give those budget-conscious fans who can’t pay exorbitant bowl-game prices a chance to see their beloved teams play in their home stadium.

What a novel idea!

There are 10 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences and seven independent schools.
Each league plays a championship game.

Why not take the champions along with the top two independent finishers and plug them into a 12-team playoff bracket? The top four receive byes, not based on overall record or AP ranking, but on conference RPI and strength of schedule.

That formula immediately eliminates multiple teams from one conference dominating the CFP. It would take four rounds to determine a national champion. FCS, Division II and Division III currently uses that format.

It opens the door, in my opinion, for a more exciting postseason.

The Bowl Season committee can keep its precious 43 bowls. They can plug in the conference championship runner-up and place them in bowls based on their RPI. You don’t lose the bowl tie-ins. And remember, a team currently doesn’t qualify for a bowl unless it has six wins.

Yes, you lose some high-profile teams.

Then again, you give other schools — players, coaches, communities — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the Rose, Orange, Cotton, Sugar and Fiesta bowls. Those bowls generate approximately $1 billion or more apiece.

On-site campus playoff games will attract more fans, provide additional revenue and sweeten the pot for all 10 conferences. They’ll have more money to distribute among their athletic teams and the opportunity to enhance their facilities.

You hear the ESPN Game Day crew talk about change and creating a level playing ground. A new — and equal — playoff format has to be step one.

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at rcoggins@mountolivetribune.com.

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