The Debate Continues, Expanding College Football Playoffs Or Not

Greg Arias

The debate over expanding the college football playoffs continues even with the uncertainty of there being a season in 2020, and neither side want's to give in. 

On one side, there are people resistant to change, which, given the option, would have us revert to the days of polls deciding college football's national champion. 

Those traditionalists, of which my age demographic would be part- not me, but others my age- spent the majority of their fandom in the poll era and like many things in life, waiting on the votes to be case became a way of life that they embraced.

Others are more modern and like the idea of having some form of competition to decide a champion on the field. 

Throw me into this category as even though I grew up watching college football from the mid-'70s till now, and have seen each system at work.    

The BCS was a step in the right direction, and under the leadership of former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer we got the first version of a playoff, even if fans and media alike disagreed with how the two participants were selected. 

Enter the College Football Playoffs where a committee selects four teams for inclusion into a three-game playoff where once again, fans and media alike found lots to dislike when it came to the selection of participants.    

Once again, there is growing talk of expanding the playoffs to either eight or sixteen teams soon. 

Some fans are vehemently opposed to any increase, be it eight or sixteen while others are staking themselves to one or the other of the potential options.  

For me and many others that I know, we are of the mindset that eight is enough. 

Expanding to an eight-team playoff would eliminate the argument over Power Five conference champions being left out while non-conference winning teams are included in the fields.  

Allowing all Power Five regular-season conference champions automatic entry to the party seems a no-brainer to me, and to the commissioners and coaches of the leagues left out over the last few years under the current system. 

An eight-team field, with five spots taken, would leave three remaining seats at the table where the highest-ranked team among the Group of Five schools should find a place- think UCF in their undefeated season where they were denied a chance to battle for a championship which they now claim anyway- and then leave two at large bids to give to the nest two most deserving teams.

Some argue that format gives the SEC an almost unfair advantage because oftentimes their league has two or three of the top teams in the land and allowing non-conference winning teams into the field against their conference champions is unfair. 

While I can certainly see that argument, I direct those making it look no further than the D-II playoffs where for many years sixteen teams, many of which didn't win their conferences have been entered into a playoff field.  

I've asked these two questions many times in discussions with other media and fans when this subject arose. 

One, why is it ok for D-II athletes to have to play a sixteen game playoff and the D-I athletes not? 

Two, are you telling me the student-athletes in D-II are any less student-athletes than those in D-I and should be treated differently because of it? Players at Alabama and Clemson shouldn't have to miss class times because of travel for football playoffs, but it's ok for kids from Georgia Southern and Austin Peay.

It sounds a bit hypocritical to me. 

Regardless of where you stand, if you agree with me or not, the times are likely to change soon for one of these new formats or the other, and fans will once again be left to decide and to argue the merits of their points of view. 

That's the beauty of sports now isn't it? 

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven

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