130 teams start out the college football season with one goal; win the college football national championship. Of those 130 teams, four teams end the season with the chance to win it all.
LSU capped of their historic season with a national championship in a defacto home game.
In New Orleans, the Bayou Bengals defeated the defending champion Clemson Tigers 42-25, as Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow tossed five touchdowns and one rushing touchdown to give him the single season passing touchdown record with 60.
LSU earned their bid through going undefeated in the regular season and beating Oklahoma 63-28 in the Peach Bowl.
Clemson was handed its first loss since the 2018 national championship (a loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide)- this game being the only loss for Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Since 2014, three teams have appeared in the playoff four times, raising questions from fans and critics alike about how exclusionary the playoff is.
For example, the 2017 UCF Knights went undefeated yet were still not included in the CFP. Instead, a one loss Alabama team who did not appear in their conference championship was included. Junior Braden Taylor, an avid follower of College Football and an Oklahoma football fan, thinks this has to do with strength of schedule.
Taylor said that the reason Alabama made it in instead of UCF was because Alabama’s only loss was to a strong Auburn team, who lost in the SEC Championship to a Georgia team that was playoff bound.
Because Alabama was not a conference champion that year and eventually won the national title, accusations of SEC bias were thrown around at the selection committee.
“On the CFP board, many people are Athletic Directors or have some position at a school and whenever their school is being talked about, those people are asked to leave the room and they have no input on the discussion,” Taylor said, which is why he thinks there is no SEC bias.
“I’m a Big XII fan, and I’ve just had to realise that some conferences are stronger,” Taylor said.
Tayor also said that SEC bias hasn’t appeared this year because Oregon, who lost to Auburn, is Currently ranked higher than Auburn.
However, Sophomore Brayden Dowers said that this year’s teams were pretty clear from the get go. Bower also said in years passed, there has been bias to teams like Alabama and Ohio state, and teams that have top draft prospects and Heismen candidates have been included.
“If people were talking about your team you were probably going to get into the playoffs,” Dowers said.
The requirements to be considered for the CFP, in order of significance, are: winning a power five conference championship, strength of schedule (record fits in here), head-to-head competition, and comparative outcomes of same opponents, according to the CFP website.
Expansion ideas and plans have been thrown around since before the CFP came into fruition. During the BCS era, the top two teams according to the AP poll would play for the national title.
“I wish that they would have the BCS style of a national championship with just the two teams but have the college football playoff committee decide those two teams,” Junior Shane Ireland said.
Former Washington State coach and new Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach has made his opinions known; he wants a 64 team playoff. “The thing that is indisputable is that at the end of the gauntlet, this team came out #1, and there’s no debate whatsoever who’s national champion,” Leach said in an interview with KREM 2 News (Washington State’s local news station).
Leach has been saying this for almost 15 years. Although many people think that this is taking it a little too far. “Mike Leach is Crazy,” Ireland said.
Other proposals range from eight teams to 16. “16 is absolutely crazy. Eight is a lot more reasonable,” Ireland said.
Taylor also said that he’s never seen an actual plan of how to rank a 16 team or eight team playoff.
Dowers, on the other hand believes that a 16 team playoff could operate like March Madness on a smaller scale. “It would be a great way for possible underdog or Cinderella stories to happen and it would make great revenue for the NCAA,” Dowers said.
Taylor said a reason to expand the playoff would be to include teams that have no chance at the playoffs, just based off of the conference they play in. Teams in group of five conferences, like 17th ranked Memphis for example.
Ireland on the other hand thinks that this would decrease the value of bowl games, which he said are essential to college football. “Those games would be pointless; just another game in which players have to risk an injury,” Ireland said.
Ireland said he thinks the rankings this year were accurate, “This year was the least debatable ever.”