How The College Football Playoff Committee Should Operate

Any fan of college football knows the BCS is ending after this season, and good riddance. What many don’t know is how the playoff committee is going to operate next season. And guess what? They don’t know yet either. There are literally no rules or criteria for this committee to follow yet. So I took it upon myself to make it easy on them. Here’s how the playoff should work.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. There are five power conferences: the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big-12. There are four spots in the playoff. You can do the math. Someone will get left out every year. Let’s look at this year for example.

No one questions that ACC champion Florida State and SEC champion Auburn should be in a playoff were there one. Most agree that Big Ten champ Michigan State belongs as well. What about that fourth spot? Do you give it to Alabama? I say heck no. To me it is between Baylor and Stanford. Stanford beat 6 ranked opponents. Baylor beat 2. Stanford had a grueling schedule. Baylor did not. Both won their conferences. One had two losses and the other lost once. Who do you put in as the fourth team? Or do you put them both in and drop Michigan State?

That’s a tall order for anyone to figure out. The committee would have had its hands full this year. That’s why clear rules are needed. So here they are.

1. The BCS rankings will be renamed the CFP rankings (college football playoff) and will continue to to calculated the exact same way and at the exact same time with one exception. The playoff committee will have its own poll which will count for 25% of the final CFP ranking, with the other three polls each counting for 25% as well.
2. After the season has ended, only the top 8 teams in the CFP rankings will be eligible for the playoff.
3. Any conference champion among the eligible teams is in the playoff. If there are more than four conference champions eligible, the four highest ranked teams will be in the playoff. Independents will be treated as conference champions.
4. If there are less than four conference champions in the top 8, the highest ranked remaining teams in the CFP rankings will fill the available spots until all four spots are full.
5. The playoff committee will seed the four teams in the playoff.

And there you have it, a fool proof way to determine the playoff each year. The committee gets a say on who gets in and determines who plays who. The coaches, computers and media still get a say in who gets in. And you have clear criteria from the first kickoff of the season: win your conference. That’s what they should all be trying to do. And they should be rewarded for it. This also ensures diversity. You won’t end up with rematches and teams from the same conference. At least it would be unlikely. How would this have gone in previous seasons?

2013:
1. Florida State
2. Auburn
3. Michigan State
4. Stanford

2012:
1. Notre Dame
2. Alabama
3. Kansas State
4. Stanford

2011:
1. LSU
2. Oklahoma State
3. Oregon
4. Boise State

2010:
1. Auburn
2. Oregon
3. TCU
4. Wisconsin

I could keep going but you get the idea. You just need to win your conference and be in the top 8 and you’re eligible. Again, will people get left out? Yeah, in 2010 and 2013 there wouldn’t be a Big 12 team. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 there would have been no ACC team. That’s how it goes.

Coincidentally, this scales incredibly well. Say you expand to an 8 team playoff. Now you use the same system. Just take the top 14 instead of the top 8. Take 8 conference champions and independents. If there aren’t enough in the top 14, fill the remaining spots with the highest ranked teams left in the top 14. Works great.

What do you think of this system?

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