Since 2014, the first year of the College Football Division I Playoff, only schools from the Power 5 conferences have made it to the dance. The SEC and the ACC have each taken seven of the twenty-four opportunities and the Big 10 and Big 12 have each had four appearances, with the Pac 12 with the remaining two spots.
Clearly the rest of the schools playing football in the other 5 conferences, (and the independents), have been told, there is no way to challenge, let alone make it to the playoffs. Don’t even try. We told you there was a chance, but really, no. No chance. Play for your conference title and hope to make it to a good bowl game.
Simply, if you promise the Power 5 the opportunities, and have only four spots, how can this ever happen? So, what about an expansion to eight teams? Division III football has long had a number of teams competing for the chance. Currently 24 teams are included. And don’t forget the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament with not only 64 teams, but an additional four from “play-ins”.
So you are telling me there is a chance. That’s all any competitive team needs to hear. That there is a chance.
How can any other conference team with any level of honest sincerity every say to its recruits that: “Our goal is to play for a National Championship”, and ever honestly believe that it is a real possibility? What that means to those schools is that when your team has great success in that lower 5 conference realm, you can expect the coaching staff to start dismantling, and have to start a program from a new beginning. Coaches leave, recruits change their choices, and fans become disheartened. If we want to build the programs, all the programs, an enlarged playoff field is a start. If we want to purposely exclude the lesser conferences, (think UCF a couple of years ago), then keep it at four teams. But, that’s failure of Division I by exclusion and prejudice of any other teams in any other conferences.
It’s Time for 8. Argue that we don’t want one extra game. Seriously. One game. Argue that it interferes with exams. Again…seriously. Many of these young men work incredibly hard at football, at education, to have great opportunities for their futures, but what is wrong with giving those teams, those players …a chance. Think of the drama, the excitement, the extra playoff games for networks and the advertising dollars that would come with an expanded playoff.
What better year to give it a shot. No fans. No real schedules that are cast in stone. Yes. This is the year to do it. Because it’s time. Because it’s good for Division I. Because it’s easier this year more than ever.
There may be a high likelihood that many of the other 5 conference teams, who might be one of the 8, may not be competitive or as competitive, but let’s give those teams, those programs a chance to compete. Competition builds a base level of expectations. Something to strive for. Competition allows the best to stand up to the moment and be able to succeed and realize dreams and goals that will be benchmarks for them as they grow and make their way into our futures.
No one is saying to spot the “other teams” points. No just provide the opportunities that the NCAA is so famous for promoting with all its other sports. Why is football different? One more game for some teams. That’s all. When Covid engulfed this country and with it, all sports, we saw the mess. We saw the disruption. But, in an odd way, it has been an opportunity to re-invent the way we do sports. Let’s take advantage of the time and create a better future for College Football. And if it doesn’t quite work out the first time, blame Covid and then just keep giving others a chance.
But, of course, this is all moot for this year. The NCAA has spoken. It is a done deal. The four deserving programs are all worthy. No taking anything away from them. Just move on to the inevitable. It’s Time for 8
Growing up, I was an OSU fan, (a nickname of mine is Woody). I was raised in a Catholic household and the fighting Irish were always our team. I really have no problem with ND taking the 4th spot. They are a very good team. Brian Kelly has done a great job with the Irish. I met and got to know Brian when he was at UC. Departure issues aside, his heart is in South Bend now, and that’s okay. BK is an outstanding coach. And the SEC is the SEC. And Clemson is Clemson.
But, I am a Bearcat. And maybe we should be in the Playoffs. Luke has done and will continue to make UC Football one of the best programs in the country. He is a wonderful man and another outstanding coach. We need to give more of the Gang of 5 opportunities to compete at the next level. This was a perfect year to give it a go.
So, next year will have to do. Fans want this. Programs need this. The NCAA will be a better Football for all of us when this happens. What are “we” afraid of? …DO IT!
It’s Time for 8.