Marketing & PR

The College Football Playoff system is broken

The College Football Playoff (CFP) system is broken.  The system right now is a bunch of insiders voting on who gets into the playoffs and who doesn’t.  This can lead to bias and mistrust, resulting in the whole system being called the SEC bowl…which it already has been.

Now let me be clear about something, I’m not against the SEC.  The SEC has some great teams and if they earn their spot then good for them, let them play.  The problem is the bias voting system that is currently in place tends to lean more towards the SEC resulting in more teams from that conference making the playoffs each year.  This is where the “SEC Bowl” moniker comes from.

How to fix this

So what do I think should be done?  For a long time I thought the NCAA should be the one running the playoff system, and I still do, but they seem to have given up that idea so I won’t even bother mentioning them.  They could take this idea and run the playoffs themselves but I don’t have high hopes of that ever happening so I’ll just focus on the CFP system.

Rankings should be determined by a points system.  At the beginning of the season every team starts with zero points and builds points based on wins and loses.  That would be tracked by the CFP and rankings would be posted every Monday.  The points system would go like this:

  • Win = 2 points
  • Lose = 0 points
  • Tie = 1 point each.

In the event of a game being cancelled for any reason (weather, pandemic, ect) both teams would get 1 point just as if they had tied.

Teams would only receive points for in conference games, including the conference championship.  This would encourage conferences to follow the points system for their own championships and ensure more faith in the system as a whole.  This could also lead to lesser known conferences gaining entrance to the playoffs.

So lets say each team plays 9 conference games in a year, that’s a possible 18 regular season points plus the championship game which equals 20 points.  Now what happens if two teams both finish the season with 20 points?  Then the team with the biggest win, based on unanswered points, is # 1 and the other team is #2.  For example:

In this scenario Ohio State would be ranked #1 and Alabama would be ranked #2.  In the event that both teams win by the same number of points, then their total unanswered conference points for the entire season would be totaled and used to determine the ranking.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Ok so every team would just play 12 conference games and get more points to get into the playoffs”.  And yes that would be the smart thing to do, that’s why the CFP would put some rules into place.  Every team is allowed to play as many conference games as they wish, but only the last 9 games would be CFP point earning games.  So if Ohio State played 11 conference games then only the last 9 games would count for CFP points.  Now if every conference voted to raise the number from 9 to 10 games per season then all 10 games would be CFP points eligible.

The Playoffs

The playoffs would be determined by the ranks.

*This is just an example, moving forward would be determined my winning each game.

Only the top 8 teams would make it to the playoffs, so if a relatively unknown team had more CFP points than one of the Power Five conference teams then they would get into the playoff and the Power Five team would not.

End result

Moving to a point based system with clear rules and no voting with the possibility of bias would result in more faith in the CFP system and more fan engagement.  And let’s face facts that’s what the College Football Playoff system wants, more fan engagement, more engagement means more money.  And that leads me to why I’m writing this.

Why am I writing about the College Football Playoff?

Let’s not kid ourselves, college football and by extension the College Football Playoff is a business.  Some schools have athletic centers for their football teams that would put NFL teams to shame.  There is big business in selling tickets and merchandise, there’s a reason you have to buy “officially licenced merchandise”.  If I were to start printing up Ohio State T-shirts and selling them I’d be sued by Ohio State as soon as they found out, because I’d be hurting their business.

So building faith in the College Football Playoff system builds faith in the sport as a whole and brings in more business for every team, a rising tide lifts all boats.  If there is more faith in the system then more people watch, then more people watch and the individual teams and the CFP can gain more lucrative sponsorships, the end result is more money for everyone.

So in the end this was a business related post, sure it’s not typical but it’s business.  Sometimes you have to look outside the box and see a business where it’s not.

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