If there was ever a need to advertise the expansion of the College Football Playoff, Georgia’s total domination of TCU in the National Championship is as good as any.
TCU’s upset win over Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl semi-final had everyone believing that their fairytale season was capable of a happy ending. But the talent disparity between them and Georgia brought every right back down to reality. And by the end of the first quarter, we were all asking if TCU even deserved to be in the game.
The embarrassing blowout highlighted the sheer talent disparity across College Football and served as a reminder of the heavily flawed CFP selection process.
This year’s top four teams were heavily debated. Loses in Championship games left the 3rd and 4th spots wide open and exposed the selection committee. USC lost the Pac-12 championship game and fell out of the top 4. While TCU lost the Big-12 Championship game and stayed at number 3.
If people still needed a reason to support and embrace the playoff expansion, TCU gave them all the answers.
There’s no denying that TCU had an amazing season. They deserved to be ranked highly and were one of the best teams in the country. But they did not belong in the National Championship with Georgia.
The 12-Team College Football Playoff
It’s a difficult position for a selection committee to be in. If they replaced TCU with Alabama, they could be accused of making conference championships meaningless. But on some level, we all knew TCU looked out of place among the top 4.
The impending debut of the College Football Playoff expansion can negate this.
In 2024-25 the CFP is expanding to 12 teams. The top four teams will be made up of the best conference champions. They will all receive a bye into the second round. The remaining 8 teams will be made up of the top six at large bids, and the two highest remaining conference champions.
So, if this 12-team playoff was in place this past season, TCU would not have been in the top 4 due to their conference championship loss and would have had to endure two more rounds of playoff games.
Predicting what the rankings would have been in the new format, TCU would have had to play Tulane in the first round of the playoffs. Then Utah in the quarter-finals. Before playing the winner of Georgia vs Kansas State/Tennessee.
So in this new format, TCU would have to beat two top teams Tulane and Utah before colliding with Georgia. And even if they did that, the embarrassing defeat would have come in the semi-finals, instead of on a National stage in a game boasting the two best teams in the country…
Unfortunately, we have one more season of the 4-team playoff. But we can only hope that the selection committee can learn from this year’s disastrous National Championship, and be more cautious about who they select next season.
Are 12 Teams Too Many?
One of the many things that make College Football so special, is that on any given Saturday, the entire post-season landscape can be flipped on its head.
Every. Single. Game. Matters.
A loss can completely derail a team’s playoff aspirations. Even Narrowly escaping defeat to a lesser team can lower a team’s ranking.
A 12-team playoff takes away from that.
Arguably the two biggest games of the season were Tennessee vs Alabama and Ohio State vs Michigan.
At the time of those games, it was believed the losers would be eliminated from playoff contention. And really, that was the case. If it wasn’t for USC losing in the Pac-12 Championship, then Ohio State would have been out of the playoffs too.
In a 12-team playoff, those games don’t mean as much. Sure, those big rivalry games are always going to be special. But adding the extra factor of the losing team being knocked out of the playoffs makes them even more special and adds fuel to the fire.
Yes, the teams will still be playing for a potential first-round bye. However, that just doesn’t carry the same weight as total playoff elimination.
In my humble opinion, a 6 or 8-team playoff has the best of both worlds. It would keep meaning to big regular season games while also allowing for a wider, more inclusive playoff.
Larger playoffs may even see teams resting players in the closing weeks of the season. And further playoff expansion could dilute the importance of regular season games, and take away one of the factors that make College Football so brilliant.
We can’t have another TCU vs Georgia-style National Championship. But we also cant ruin the integrity of the College Football season. There’s a middle ground somewhere, only time will tell if we’ve found it.
This article was written by our new writer Ross Love. Thanks to Ross for contributing this article and you can catch more of his work here in the future.
Feature Image Credit: College Football Playoff