College Football Playoff has proven beneficial, but it’s unfinished

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Photo courtesy CBS Sports

Another college football season is upon us and similar to the expectation of the earth rotating around the sun, the Alabama Crimson Tide enter the season ranked as the No. 1 team in the land. Last season, Alabama’s defense dominated the College Football Playoff by shutting down the powerhouse Michigan State Spartans and slowing Heisman hopeful DeShaun Watson in the CFP National Championship Game. In short, the Crimson Tide truly earned their title through the CFP. Despite entering the season as heavy favorites, Alabama will need to finish strong again to repeat as champs because of the CFP.

The implementation of the CFP has made the college football season more interesting and forces the Tide to earn their title from year to year, rather than simply allowing them to bully their way through the Southeastern Conference, then receive a default bid into the National Championship Game. The CFP has allowed the rest of the field a chance to compete for a title and gives fans what they want at the end of the season: additional meaningful football games.

From the fan’s perspective, the CFP has been a huge success since its implementation two seasons ago. The first four teams to play in the CFP were the Florida State Seminoles, Oregon Ducks, Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama. Given the history of the previous Bowl Championship Series format, Alabama and FSU would have been given bids into the BCS title game, while Oregon and OSU were left to play on New Year’s Eve for a semi-meaningless trophy in a bowl game watched only by those of us who stay home to watch football that night rather than attend parties. However, the beauty of the CFP is that both Oregon and OSU were given the opportunity to compete and beat the favorites, handily at that, and met for an unexpected clash in the first-ever CFP National Championship.

Another thing the CFP does for college football is give extra life to teams after a loss. Proponents of the BCS system claimed it made for a season-long playoff, rather than just having a single playoff at the end of the season. The CFP continues to allow for late-season eliminations, while also creating dramatic races at the end of the season when as many as six teams may be competing for the final four spots. Last season, the Stanford Cardinal and Notre Dame Fighting Irish had resumes worthy of CFP bids, but were left out at the expense of berths for the Oklahoma Sooners, Clemson Tigers, Michigan State Spartans and, eventual champ, Alabama.

The CFP has helped college football to build a season that keeps fans interested longer and is more enjoyable and competitive. The only problem with the current arrangement of the CFP? It doesn’t have enough teams. A four-team playoff leaves out one power 5 school, even expansion to eight teams allows for all power conferences to have representation along with several wild cards. Open the playoff up to eight teams and let chaos ensue. The inaugural CFP showed us that, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, anybody can win a one-game playoff. So why not let Cinderella play football, too?