College Playoffs Coming a Year Too Late

It is a shame that we couldn’t get the four-team college football playoffs this season instead of next season. At the end of October it looks as if there are four teams that will wind up the regular season unbeaten among the automatic qualifying conferences. The Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida State Seminoles, Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes are likely not going to lose a game before the bowls.

If course this is not a foregone conclusion as all four still have a game they had better show up at their best or they could get beat. The Tide still has a couple of tough ones, one at home against the LSU Tigers on November 9th and at the Auburn Tigers on November 30th, The Seminoles have a date with the Miami Hurricanes on Novemeber 2nd and at the Florida Gators on November 30th. The Ducks will take on the Stanford Cardinal on November 7th and the Oregon State Beavers on November 29th. The Buckeyes have a road game at the Michigan Wolverines on November 29th.

The way these teams are playing, they don’t look as if they are about to stumble though. But if one of them should fall, the Baylor Bears are also unbeaten and putting some serious beatings on people and could slip in to that fourth spot. They still have games against the Oklahoma Sooners on November 7th, the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 19th and the Texas Longhorns on December 7th. If the Hurricanes did mange to be the one to knock off FSU, then they are also unbeaten and could move into the top four.

The point is, this would have been the season to implement the four team playoff because there is an excellent chance there will be at least four unbeatens that would have filled them. Instead, we will have two unbeatens ending up in the National Championship and probably two or three more who will be left out through no fault of their own.

How do we decide between these unbeaten teams if all of them continue to hammer the competition like they have been for the first two months? This week for example, the Seminoles held a 35-0 lead over the North Carolina State Wolfpack and fell out of the championship game. Wait, what?  How does that happen? It happens when the Ducks roll off 28 second half points to blow out the #12 team in the UCLA Bruins.

This year would even be a good year for an eight team playoff. With those five teams we could throw in Stanford, Clemson and another of the SEC juggernauts such as LSU, Missouri or South Carolina. There is also the winner of the AAC, either the UCF Knights, Louisville Cardinals or Houston Cougars. Any one of them could run the table. But we will have to wait one more year for that.

Jim Folsom is a regualr contributor to