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College Football Playoffs Expanding … Someday, Maybe

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Word is out that the powers that be in charge of the college football playoffs system, or CFP if you prefer, are seriously mulling over expanding the field from its current four teams to twelve. The proposal would set as the starting field the top four ranked teams who are conference champions as the first through fourth seeds, next coming the top eight ranked teams regardless of whether they are conference champions. The top four teams would receive a first-round bye, while teams five through twelve will play each other at the higher ranked team’s home a couple of weeks after the regular season and conference championship games ended. The next round would take place at various bowl games on or near New Years Day, with the semi-finals after that and the championship game a couple of weeks thereafter, all at neutral sites.

For decades, there was no national championship game in college football. The closest one could come to such a matchup would be if the number one and number two ranked teams in the country, said rankings being from either the media  or collegiate coaches, were to meet in a bowl game. This didn’t happen all that often, as most bowl games featured a matchup predetermined by conference; for example, the Rose Bowl was a bout between the PAC-8 (or 10, or 12) and Big Ten champions. The number one ranked team therefore playing number twenty-three while number two was playing number three? Oh well.

The CFP, after three other attempts at sort-of playoffs crashed and burned, is supposed to permanently fix the above by selecting the top four teams in the country, pitting teams one and four against each other in one high profile bowl game and teams two and three against each other in another high profile game, followed by a championship game at — you guessed it — a neutral site. This system has led to much wailing and gnashing of teeth among teams who have put together sparkling seasons, but by dint of not being in the SEC (oops, did I say that out loud?) are

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