Top Five Reasons Why an Eight-Team Playoff Won't Work in College Football

Lou VozzaAnalyst INovember 5, 2008

5. Unlike professional leagues, Division I FBS has 119 teams with no reverse-record order draft system to ensure a balance of power. 

The only solution: “Sorry, Mr. Smith, I know your son Jimmy qualified academically to attend Vanderbilt, but we are forcing him to attend Middle Tennessee. They had a worse record than the Commodores last year."


4. Any eight-team playoff will be forced to expand because the power imbalances will create more controversy than the playoff resolves. 

This is the reason Division I-AA football quickly expanded their playoff to 16 teams after starting with four teams. They currently allow 18 teams and have already voted to grow to 20 teams next year.

The NCAA basketball tournament started with eight teams and recently voted to expand from 64 to 65 teams. 

Playoffs are like government entitlements. They just keep growing and growing.


3. The most popular eight-team format fantasy these days is six BCS conference champions plus two wild cards. This isn’t enough wild cards.  

Consider the following scenarios this season.

Georgia Tech wins the ACC. Georgia beats Georgia Tech 56-0 the last week of the season. Tech goes on to the playoffs and gets a shot at the NC, while Florida is chosen as the wild card instead of Georgia. Georgia fans form a human ring around the Fiesta Bowl in protest.

Oklahoma gets left out of the playoffs and is sent to the Alamo Bowl, while Big East champ West Virginia goes to the playoffs. The state of Oklahoma formally secedes from the Union.

The BCS will look like a monument to common sense and fairness in comparison to an eight-team playoff.


2. In an attempt to stop these controversies, the playoff will be expanded to 16-team format, now with six BCS conference champions and 11 wild cards. The BCS will then be sued by the five non-BCS conferences, who will demand automatic berths.

The BCS will have to choice but to cave in. This means 11 automatic berths and only five wild cards, which won’t be nearly enough now that you let the weaker non-BCS conference champs in. 

Imagine leaving Ohio State and Oklahoma State out of the playoffs in favor of Central Michigan and Troy.

Hopefully now you're beginning to understand how basketball ended up with 65 teams.

1. A playoff has to have an absolute minimum of 24 teams, including the 11 conference champions plus 13 wild cards. Otherwise it won't pass the most basic absurdity test.

To make room in the calendar for a 24-team playoff, you will have to cut the regular season down by 30 percent, cancel Christmas, or move the Super Bowl to March. Say bye-bye to all bowl games and all bowl game traditions.


Congratulations, you've turned college football’s unique spine-tingling regular season into one more dull slog to determine home field, seeding, and “Who’s No. 24?”

For those of you who want to hear more reasons why I am against a playoff, check out the story I posted on my blog—Top Ten Dumb Reasons for a Playoff in College Football.