Mandatory Credit: Photo by LM Otero/AP/Shutterstock (13639090ae) Head coach Sonny Dykes walks off the field after an NCAA college football game against Iowa State in Fort Worth, Texas, . TCU won 62-14 Iowa State TCU Football, Fort Worth, United States – 26 Nov 2022
The College Football Playoff matchups were announced on Sunday. Georgia will play Ohio State, and Michigan will face TCU, which got in despite a field goal loss in the Big 12 Championship game.
Alabama is the only team that could probably make a case of the teams that were left out, but they did have two losses. As is the case most years, the committee got it right.
This is the next-to-last year of the four-team playoff. In 2024, it will go to 12 teams. Many are celebrating this as an excellent move.
But there are potential unexpected consequences of a 12-team playoff. One of the things that makes college football special is that each week in the regular season matters. By watering down the playoffs, that could go away. The Ohio State-Michigan game a couple of weeks ago would have lost most of its luster because both teams would have been easily in. They did get in this year, but Ohio State needed USC to lose. That game would not have mattered in a 12-team playoff.
The reasoning is not to give others more access; it’s simply to make more money. Don’t get me wrong – more meaningful games is a good thing. But if it makes the other games less meaningful is it really a good thing?
The problem is jumping from four to 12. Eight would have been more than enough. Now, once they see how much money is made, what will stop them from going to 16? Then 24? Then how much will the regular season really mean?
A positive is we might get more high-profile nonconference matchups because teams will be able to afford a loss. But the week-in, week-out, “it’s a big deal if you lose” will be lost.
The truth is, with four teams, we got two great matchups. Will we wind up with that when we get to 12?
The matchups this year would be No. 5 Alabama versus No. 14 Tulane (one of the top five ranked conference champions), Tennessee versus Kansas State, Utah versus Clemson, USC versus Penn State. Would any of those teams other than Alabama have a real shot to win it all?
Truth be told, this is a done deal, and in two years we will have an expanded playoff. For now, however, we have four good teams and two very good matchups.
Let’s enjoy it while we have it.