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College Football Burning Questions – Ohio State versus Oregon

Writers’ Roundtable

 College Football Championship

 We love college football. That’s a broad statement, but one that might be viewed as an understatement following this Bowl Season and first ever College Football Playoff.

The pageantry, suspense and passion that fans, writers, and casual observers witnessed during the Rose and Sugar Bowls will culminate on Monday night in the heart of Texas, on the biggest of stages as the Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes battle for the National Championship.

Leading up to and following the game FanRag Sports writers will discuss, debate, and provide in-depth answers to the burning questions that will determine which team celebrates a national title in AT&T Stadium.

 

The College Football Panel is made up of @TodaysPigskin columnists Alex Kolodziej (@AlexK_47), Dustin Schutte (@Sharp_Schutter), Stephen Sheehan (@StephenPSheehan), Colin Sylvester (@ColinSyvlester), Pat Whitehurst (@Pat_Whitehurst) and Ryan Wooden (@Ryan_Wooden).

 

Got a question that you’d like to see our panel or an individual writer tackle? Tweet it to us and weigh in yourself. Be Seen, Be Heard, Be a Fan!

 

Question No. 1: Is a four-team College Football Playoff enough?

 

@AlexK_47: After countless years of whining about the college football format, fans got their wish in 2014 with a new playoff consisting of four teams. According to the fans, it needs to change. Again.

I can agree with a playoff platform in deciding a victor. But not six or eight teams. Whether fans truly desire more college football games, or their dismay in packing up for next season is causing them pain, adding more teams to a playoff leaves even more room for whiners.

I’m infatuated with the postseason as much as the next person, but there will always be teams that feel snubbed, no matter the format.The committee expands next year, and you’ll be hearing from a team’s fan base in the AAC who finished No. 14, their biggest win on the road against UCONN.

Keep the format, and keep the temper tantrums to a minimum.

TCU has an argument, but that's it.

TCU has an argument, but that’s it.

 

@Sharp_Schutter: Most will look at TCU’s performance in the Peach Bowl and argue that the playoff already needs to be expanded. Look past TCU though and tell me who else deserved a right to compete for a national championship. Baylor and Mississippi State were beaten in their bowl games and Michigan State was a two-loss team who didn’t win its division or conference. Certainly, you could make a case for the Horned Frogs but that’s truly where the debate ends.

It doesn’t matter how many teams a playoff system includes, controversy will always find its way into the selection process and conversation. If the playoff expands, it will eventually get watered-down with undeserving teams and will begin to devalue the relevance of the regular season. The NCAA shouldn’t be persuaded to make a change to the playoff after one season and one team. Keep the College Football Playoff at four teams.

 

@StephenPSheehan: Ultimately I believe the playoff system should and will expand to at least six teams. The first step to improving the national championship picture already took place, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. This year, we saw some worthy teams, most notably TCU, get left out of the playoff picture. A six-team playoff could help alleviate those concerns without watering down the competition. An eight-team playoff would be too expansive for my tastes, though it’s not totally out of the question. Then again, no one thought Ohio State should be in the playoff and they’re playing for the national championship. At least we’re moving in the right direction.

 

@ColinSylvester: If the New Year’s Six Bowls showed us anything, it’s that the teams ranked 5-8 have just as good a shot at winning the Playoff as the 1-4 teams. TCU and Michigan State both had statement wins, and the Spartans played Ohio State and Oregon much closer than Alabama or Florida State. Unfortunately, though, an eight-team playoff won’t happen for awhile.

Bowl season is all about the money, and four teams allows the Playoff to still operate within the bowl system. An eight-team playoff would likely see the first round played as a home game for the higher seeds. That’s great for the schools and the conferences, but it’s a loss for the bowls, which have too much money riding on the current system to allow it in the next five years at least.


@Pat_Whitehurst:  
Based on the overwhelming success of this Bowl Season, my thinking has changed drastically on this topic. I stood up right away and said “We need six teams, not four!” When TCU and Baylor were left on the outside looking in that proclamation held water. The issues of including a bye week (with six teams) or home games (with eight) would not only be logistically challenging to the NCAA, but would also lessen the importance of the regular season and perhaps even eliminate another fabulous college football weekend–the conference championship games.

If six teams were in the College Football Playoff we would still bitch about the seventh and eighth teams that missed out. If eight teams had been in the playoff this season we would wonder why Ole Miss and Mississippi State were in while Michigan State and Georgia Tech were not.

This certainly was not the year for two SEC teams.

This certainly was not the year for two SEC teams.

Every game, all season long means so much more when only four teams make the Playoff. Ultimately one or two power conferences may not be represented, and the committee might make mistakes in their assessments (a TCU vs. Oregon Rose Bowl may have been the best/most entertaining game this century), but we’ve got a really good thing going right now.

Change and the search for more money is inevitable though, and we’ll all watch when it moves to six or eight.

 

@Ryan_Wooden: It’s a little difficult to make that assessment given that the inaugural College Football Playoff hasn’t even concluded yet, but I think when you start weighing the reality of a potential three-game postseason and the worry of diluting the regular season, four is what we’ll have for now. We’re pushing hard for more conference games and more non-conference games against P5 (Power Five) opponents and larger playoffs and inevitably something has to give because we can’t have 18-game seasons.

Four gives us an opportunity to sort things on the field, keeps the wear on the athletes minimal and rewards only the strongest regular seasons. You can’t talk about changing that in Year One. Now, if you want to talk about changing how we arrive to the decision of who is among the four, you’ve got my attention.

 

 

 

 

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