I was one of the biggest supporters of the Bowl Championship Series, and in just three quick years the College Football Playoff has quickly, and swiftly shut me up. Of course, what would College Football be without always trying to improve and make it self just that much better? I cannot help but think I have a great idea that could put NCAA Football just that much closer to the almighty NFL.
It’s the simplest way possible, expand the College Football Playoff to eight teams. But there is so much more to it than just adding four schools. By adding just one extra round, there are several doors that open for the NCAA. But above all else, there is one primary reason why this could be an absolute slam dunk and would allow for everyone (except the #9 ranked team) to come out winners.
Home Playoff Games
The NCAA has shown its true colors on more than one occasion over the past few years, and everyone pretty much understands that they, just like everyone else, needs money to help lead them in the next direction they take. Which leads me to the first group that wins: The NCAA
By adding four teams, they would be adding two additional games and one extra round. The sponsors would jump at the opportunity to throw their name in front of these games. For example, “The College Football Playoff 1st round, brought to you by Goodyear” sounds great. The naming rights would sell for a solid amount of cash. You could also have four different sponsors for each 1st round game.
So now that we have made the NCAA happy by getting the money out of the way, let’s dive into why the fans win. First and foremost:
This is simple but very true. The more teams you let in, the more people will be invested in watching the games. Expanding the footprint of the Playoffs would do great things. Not sure how many Michigan fans willingly watched a Buckeye team get dismantled, knowing the whole time that was the team they let slip by. But under this system, the #6 Wolverines would face the #3 Buckeyes in the first round of the playoffs, in the Horseshoe in Columbus. Let me type that out again… Michigan and Ohio State would play in a playoff game. Who is not going to watch that!?
College Football is always changing, but there is one thing that always remains the same.
Think about the atmosphere at Bryant-Denny Stadium on an average October afternoon while the Tide play against a mediocre SEC team. An atmosphere that no NFL team could dream of competing with in a regular season game. Now, think about a crisp December night in Tuscaloosa as the Tide watch the USC Trojans, Oregon Ducks, or Oklahoma Sooners come running out to compete in the first round of the playoffs. I sure hope Big Al is ready, because he may have to hold the stadium up, because that crowd may damn well bring the house down.
There is something that goes almost unnoticed throughout bowl season, that has almost become completely accepted. This will provide, and even playing field.
Though not many admit it, there is already home field advantage in bowl games. You will not typically hear the SEC, or PAC-12 teams say anything about it, but it is there. Ohio State playing LSU in the 2007 Sugar Bowl for the title. LSU’s home state. USC playing 14 miles away from their home field against Texas in the 2006 National Championship. This new format will even the playing field. Those Florida speed men may not be so quick in the frigid Pennsylvania December air in Happy Valley. Clemson may look a little shaky in a South Bend snow storm, or a 40 degree down poor in East Lansing.
Adding home field advantage to the College Football Playoff adds that extra urgency during the regular season. That last second field goal wide to the left could put you in a hostile environment. The fumble recovery on the 1-yard line could mean an extra home cooked meal. This would add even more intrigue to a sport who already has plenty of it. This could make the sport even bigger.
NCAAF Baseline Times Contributor