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College Football Playoff Committee Rankings Will Eventually Force Expansion

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If the committee keeps going down this path, the eight team playoff will have to happen.

College Football Playoff National Championship Media Day Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The College Football Playoffs were released last night during the televised spectacle that is college football. The rankings held little surprise in terms of who was in the top 4, though the order does come at some surprise.

Week 12 CFP Rankings Top 6

Alabama Crimson Tide at number one should be expected. Clemson Tigers at #2 is where people are getting frustrated. Miami Hurricanes at 3 and Oklahoma Sooners at 4 round out the playoff field right now. Wisconsin is gnashing its collective teeth that despite a goose egg in the loss column they cannot crack the committee’s top 4.

Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt is tasked with being the voice and face of the committee this season. He has to explain the reasoning of the committee for their rankings, despite the fact that he may not believe their reasons. This is an incredibly difficult situation to be in.

According to Hocutt, the committee is holding Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa St. Cyclones over their head and it is why the committee hasn’t ranked OU higher. Despite this information, the committee has chosen to give Clemson a pass on their road loss to Syracuse.

As for the reason that Clemson is ahead of Miami, apparently beating teams at home is now a bad thing. Clemson has good road victories, which Miami does not.

The committee’s format and development over the past few years is beginning to rub fans the wrong way. I think Big 12 fans have every right to be upset with the committee and it starts with how the Big 12 is not represented in the selection committee.

Kirby Hocutt is the Director of Athletics at Texas Tech. Outside of him, there is no one else on the committee who has a tie-in or even a good feeling about the Big 12. The rest of the selection committee is: Frank Beamer (VT/ACC), Jeff Bower (Southern Miss/CUSA), Herb Deromedi (Central Mich./MAC), Tom Jernstedt (NCAA), Bobby Johnson (Vanderbilt/SEC), Jeff Long (Arkansas/SEC), Rob Mullens (Oregon/Pac-12), Dan Radakovich (Clemson/ACC), Gene Smith (Ohio State/Big Ten), Steve Wieberg (USA Today), Tyrone Willingham (Notre Dame & Stanford/Washington/ Ind. & Pac-12).

Want to know why the Big 12 feels like it gets shafted and looked down upon? Look at the selection committee makeup and tell me that those coaches, many of whom coached in an era of run the ball and play defense, don’t look at the high-offense Big 12 as a lesser conference.

The one good thing about the committee’s process is that the human error is going to eventually lead to playoff expansion. We’ve only had 3 iterations of the playoffs and already coaches are bringing up playoff expansion. The argument against playoff expansion is the same argument that was used when the Bowl Coalition Series was first formed, then when the BCS came to fruition. During that time it was “the regular season determines the champion, we don’t need a bowl game to determine a champion.” Once we went through several years of making money hand over fist, the BCS was acceptable. Then the argument shifted that we already had #1 vs. #2 and we didn’t “want to dilute the product on the field”.

Does the product on the field feel diluted to you? Miami just played Notre Dame, Auburn played Georgia, Oklahoma played TCU. Those were important, playoff deciding games. Are Oklahoma and TCU even in the conversation during the BCS? What about Notre Dame and Clemson? Do you feel slighted because more teams are relevant?

With expansion, it is going to happen. The committee and the conference’s can fight it but eventually, this playoff is going to eight teams. 6 teams with the top 2 getting a bye is the wrong step and everything indicates there is little support for this scenario. So eight team playoff is the way we are going. I have a better solution that creates an eight-team playoff but keeps the actual playoff at four.

Four Conferences. Winner gets in. That simple. In every single major sport [MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL] if you win your division, you are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. The NFL did not take away the Seahawks playoff spot in 2010 because they finished 7-9. No they still made the playoffs. That is how it should work in the NCAA as well. In order to get there, we need to expand. And drop a team.

The NCAA needs to move to four conferences of sixteen teams. That means dropping one Power 5 team. I would drop Kansas who has not been competitive in ten years. Now with 64 teams to work with, you need four conferences.

Each conference is made up of two divisions of eight teams each. Each division plays everyone [7 conference games], plus two opponents from the other division for 9 total conference games. You are required to play at least one Power 5 team and one Group of 5 team in your non-conference. You may play a FCS team because those schools need money.

Then, here is the trick, each conference holds a conference championship game. There is your eight-team playoff. Winner makes the playoffs. If you can’t win your division and you can’t win your conference you don’t deserve to make the playoffs. You want access, win the damn games.