Pundits on ESPN and others will tell you that a playoff hurts the regular season and that now every week is a playoff. The problem with that is most of us aren’t as interested in college football as whole as much as we are interested in our team. With one loss and you are out, your season can end pretty early. If you are a Texas or Florida fan, your dream is to win a National Championship. For Texas, that ended last week, and for Florida this week. Are those fans more excited now that they are eliminated? Sure, they will still go to and watch the games, but the interest will be down, the interest from their fans for the national scene is down and outsider’s interest in them is down because they are out. Look at baseball. The wild card boosted interest because it kept teams in the race longer. A playoff does the same for college football.
While one loss might not eliminate you, every game is still extremely important. Only 12 teams get in and they are seeded, with higher seeds getting byes and home games. The difference between #2 and #9 seed might be one loss, but that is the difference between having to win two home games and having to win three road games to get into the national championship game. If you are Florida, dropping a late season SEC game or the SEC title game could be the difference between going to Lincoln in December and getting to play the Big East winner at home. Big difference, so every game is still extremely important.
This in time can also solve what most of those ESPN pundits complain about most about the regular season, cupcake games. If you are in the SEC or Big 10, now you have to go undefeated to win the national championship, why would you add a Texas, when an Akron will play you? There is no incentive to play good teams in the non-conference. A playoff could do that. First it takes the fear of losing a game early ending your season, but also you can reward teams that play a tougher schedule. Have the committee give special attention to it in selecting the five wild cards. Say you have a two loss SEC team and a two loss Big 10 team as your last two “bubble” teams. One played a couple of road non-conference games or a Top 10 team. The committee would give them the advantage over a team that played four home games, couple of which against FCS teams.
Maybe I am dreaming here, but maybe we can even set up conference challenges each weekend of September, like in basketball. One week could be Big 12 vs. Pac 10, then SEC vs. Big 10, and ACC vs. Big East. The champions from the season before match up, #2’s, #3’s, and so on, match up. Everyone plays that game, plus a non-conference rivalry type game, and then they can fill in with a couple of mid majors.
There you go. Playoffs, everyone gets a chance, a real champion is decided, and there is more excitement for everyone for the entire season.