CFB playoff changes coming

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Finally, we are on the cusp of what a true playoff environment could be in the FBS division of college football.

Last week, the College Football Playoff announced that it will consider expansion from four to 12 teams in the national playoff.

Six spots would be reserved for the highest-ranked conference champions, with six at-large bids completing the playoff seeding.

Fans of the sport have seen such a dramatic shift in how college football is conducted in the last 15 years, it's a wonder our beloved sport is even recognizable.

There's talk of players being able to collect a paycheck from universities, the transfer portal has become a hot-button issue, and the playoffs have always been a topic for stark discussion.

The biggest issue with the current, four-team format is so much reliance on the “eye test.”

This standard for selecting teams is for some reason, given much more credence than letting teams duke it out on the field.

For years, it's felt like the system was in place to protect the biggest brands in college football.

In 2014, both Baylor and TCU got snubbed for not having won their conference championship, as the two teams settled for co-champions in the Big 12, since there was no Big 12 title game at the time.

But this same standard didn't apply to Ohio State in the 2016-2017 season, nor did it apply to Alabama in the 2017-2018 season and the excuse given was the “eye test.”

Simply put, the four-team format was designed to keep the biggest brands in football at center stage under the spotlight.

Now that's not to say the system was a continual failure, because it wasn't.

There's been out-right dominating performances in the championship that have led to unquestioned champions.

There hasn't been a “what-if?” in several instances.

Naturally, fans of those teams who have reaped the benefits of a smaller format will be opposed to any sort of expansion.

But COVID-19 did something unexpected for college football.

The FCS division of football wasn't played like normal in the fall.

Instead, it was moved to the Spring of 2021 and with high-profile guys like Deion Sanders coaching in that division of football, naturally there was more exposure than normal.

People had a chance to see that an bigger playoff format was not only viable in college football, it's pretty good for ratings and entertainment purposes.

Imagine a March Madness style tournament upset with an expanded playoff on a team that just made the cut.

No sports fan should be opposed to it.

While it still hasn't become set in stone, the support for an expanded playoff field is not only gaining traction, but it's becoming an overwhelming majority.

As long as there are changes made to the sport, it's about time one of the changes should be for the better.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Tribune. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

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