College Football Playoffs Flip the Script

Jake Hawkins, Staff Writer

A typical New Year’s Eve party celebrates the past year with friends and family alongside the usual one-sided college football playoff game. However, since the number of college football playoff teams has tripled from four to 12 teams, the usual football tradition may be a bit different this year round. This change will be implemented in 2024, after a discussion with the college football committee, after receiving complaints on its decision for which teams get into the top four spots and which teams do not. 

One of the biggest reasons for the shift is due to the recent trend of there being one undefeated team, without playing a difficult schedule. This year, Texas Christian University (TCU) went 12-1 in the Big 12, earning themselves the third spot in the college football playoffs. Similarly,  last year Cincinnati made the playoffs and lost to Alabama 27-6, contrasting their undefeated regular season.

Many predict TCU will lose because after a poor season in comparison to a team like Michigan, who is ahead of TCU at 13-0 and second in the playoff picture. Many find this frustrating because teams with considerably high records like Alabama and Tennessee should be in the playoffs despite two close losses to strong teams. 

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“I think the new bracket will be better because, apart from this year, it’s always been the same teams like [Alabama] Ohio State Georgia and Clemson, and I think the opportunity for more teams to get involved in the playoff and get the real chance of upsetting the higher teams will make the games more exciting and make December college football more fun in general,” MPSH sophomore and college football enthusiast Matteo Scala said.

The top four conference champions will be in with the next top six at large bids, and the two highest-ranked remaining conference champions will be in the bracket. Those teams will then be ranked by their playoff standings assigned by the committee. Smaller schools have more of an opportunity as it guarantees a team of five to make the bracket. Teams like North Texas, Toledo, Ohio, Troy, Coastal Carolina, Fresno State and Jackson State all have a greater chance to make the college football playoffs. 

“I think it’s a lot better than the old system because it allows for more upsets to happen and smaller teams to get opportunities to win the national championship, and helps recruiting for the smaller teams because of that chance of winning the national championship,” Scalla said.

Yet, without joining a conference, teams like Army, Umass, and Uconn, can not get into the top four. The change also applies for Notre Dame University — meaning independent teams will never have a bye as the top four teams do. In basketball a bye week allows a team to rest as they do not have another match until the next round of the tournament

The 5-8 seeds will host home games against the 9-12 seeded teams. The remaining eight teams will play on New Year’s Day in the Rose, Cotton, Orange, Peach, Fiesta and Sugar bowl, which rotate between the semi-final and quarter-final games every year. The first seed gets to pick where they want to play followed by the second, third and fourth seeds; the championship game will be played at a neutral site.

This new tournament-style bracket for the college football playoffs looks to balance small and underdog schools and improve their chances of getting in and having equal opportunities compared to the big-name colleges.