The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Fluco Journalism
A football player celebrates with a trophy. Photo created by Fluco Journalism using Bing Image Creator.

Examining the Expansion

Imagine your favorite college football team is ranked fourth in the country. It’s the last game of the season against their rival college. All they need to do is win this game and they’ll surely get into the playoffs. The game is played and your team loses by three points, dropping them out of the top four and ending their chances of winning a championship.

This is how the college football season currently goes. College football teams are ranked by their overall performance throughout the season. The top 25 teams are the best in the country. The top four teams at the end of the season are entered into what is called the College Football Playoff, and these four teams play in games to determine who plays for the national title. But what happens to the other 21 teams?

Recently, some have begun to question this process. For example, in the 2023-24 season, the Florida State Seminoles went undefeated, yet they were not chosen to play in the playoffs. A similar situation occurred in 2017 as the undefeated University of Central Florida Knights missed out on the playoffs in favor of the then 11-1 Alabama Crimson Tide. The same situation occurred in 2020 when the 6-0 Ohio State Buckeyes (only part of the season was played due to COVID-19) made the playoffs over the 8-1 Texas A&M Aggies.

This structure, which allows undefeated or more successful teams to be excluded from the national championships, is all about to change.

In the 2024-25 season, teams like Florida State will have the opportunity to play for the national title. The playoffs will be expanding to 12 teams instead of four. This gives teams who may have missed out the year before, a chance to win. The new structure of the playoffs will be a lot like the more popular “March Madness,” playoffs used in college basketball. In that competition, 68 teams are selected from around the country to play for the championship. This allows for smaller schools to play better known schools and sometimes even win against the larger programs. This type of win is often known as a “Cinderella story” win, is named after the popular rags-to-riches princess. Such unknown champions could happen in the new college football playoffs, making it a more entertaining competition and allowing smaller schools to make a name for themselves.

Another concern with the current system is that some teams miss out on the playoffs by losing their last game of the season. This sort of thing happens very often. A team can be undefeated until the last game and still, have all of their season progress destroyed by one game. In addition, some argue that having the postseason be based on just a few games lessens the importance of most of the regular season games.

“There’s a real concern [that] games that meant a ton in the regular season before, are now more about spectacle than stakes,” stated ESPN college football reporter David Hale.

In addition, some feel the committee members who vote teams into the playoffs based on team strength may have a certain bias. The fear is that they choose teams that will get the game watched more than teams who deserve to be there. For example, Alabama was selected to play in this year’s college football playoff even though they went 9-3 overall this season. Many fans said this was unfair to other teams who had much better records, such as the previously mentioned Florida State. This possible bias in the selection process may be unfair to the teams who work hard to be the best, something that sports commentators have noted.

“Honestly, I’m looking forward to not being nearly as angry about the selection process and the top of the rankings,” said ESPN writer Bill Connelly.

Currently, most teams end their season with “Bowl Games,” a series of games played across the country sponsored by brands from around the world. These games have no significance to the current football season and seem to some like advertisements for rich companies. In the new college football playoff structure, these games would have more meaning. This could also give players opportunities to get their name out there in hopes of getting NFL (National Football League) recognition.

Part of the reason people watch sports is the drama involved. With the expansion of the playoffs, there will be more chances for lesser-known underdogs to beat “better” teams, increasing the overall drama of the experience. Fans may appreciate the possibility that an expansion will bring in a lot more viewers as they come to meet teams that have a chance at winning it all.

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