Given the ratings and results, it’s safe to say that the vast majority of people are happy with the College Football Playoff format. And if they’re not happy with it, they at least think it’s an improvement over the BCS.
Not everyone, however, feels that way.
“I said it from the very beginning when they first announced this: This is basically the BCS on steroids,” CBS Sports college football columnist Jerry Palm said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “And the primary reason why this isn’t really any different is because it’s still not big enough to get all of the teams that could legitimately win the playoff into the playoff. Ohio State got picked for the fourth spot. There was some debate over that. I’m not really questioning that selection. I think you could certainly make a reasonable argument for Ohio State. I think you could for Baylor as well. I don’t think you could for TCU because TCU could’t be ahead of Baylor because Baylor beat them.
“But TCU and Baylor, either one of them, was good enough to be the team standing on the podium Monday night,” Palm continued. “But they didn’t get a chance. Ohio State did. They took advantage of it, won the title, deserved the title. They were certainly the best team in our little tournament. But if you’re sitting there at Baylor, if you’re sitting there at TCU, you’re thinking, ‘That could just have easily been us.’ Well, if you’re not going to fix the biggest problem with the BCS – which was that it wasn’t big enough to get all the teams in it that could legitimately win it – then why bother doing it? That’s my biggest problem with this playoff. They didn’t fix the biggest problem, and we’re stuck with it for 12 years. We’re going to have this problem every year for 12 years.”
But as we’ve seen with March Madness, it really doesn’t matter how teams are in the tournament; teams 69, 70 and 71 – the ones on the bubble that were left out – are going to complain.
“But 69, 70 and 71, legitimately, their odds of wining something like this (are) not very good,” Palm said. “In college football, maybe eight (is the magic number). The top eight teams, you could see a legitimate case for them to win the playoffs. Maybe nine or ten could pull it off in some odd circumstance, but for the most part, those teams are not going to stand a competitive chance of winning a tournament like this. And in basketball, it’s rare that you see a team come from one of the last teams in to the Final Four. Although we have seen such a thing, but those teams haven’t won the tournament, either.”
Palm said 16 teams might be the best format. That way, you can include all 10 conference champions and six at-large teams.
“You’re going to get everybody with a legitimate chance to win the tournament,” Palm said. “Plus, everybody starts to see (that they) have a chance to make the playoffs. If you go out and win your league, you’re in. In that sense, it’s like the basketball tournament where every conference champion gets in. I think that that’s probably the ultimate correct size, but we’re not going to see that. I’ll be on the beach in Hawaii somewhere off the grid before that kind of thing ever happens.”