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Changes in the college football system still present problems for championship

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The inaugural College Football Playoff created history by drawing in the largest audience in cable history, and seeing a sophomore quarterback lead an underdog team to become the National Champions.

But, what those viewers didn’t see was an appropriate structure in the selection process.

Many college football fans embraced the long-awaited playoff system, saying that it finally brought fairness to college football. Many argue that the bowl game selection relied too heavily on computers and that the higher-ranking conferences dominated the selection for who would go to the championship match.

With the playoff system, human beings chose the teams that go to the playoff bowl games. But, those humans come with their own biases?

Sure, the committee will deny any form of favoritism with the selection process, but there is always some sort of prejudice.

The first playoff selection was essentially the same selection process used by the BCS to pick the teams that would compete for the National Championship.

Just like the BCS bowl game system, the playoff committee relied too heavily on the teams from the powerhouse conferences such as the SEC, ACC and PAC 12. The big three conferences have dominated the BCS and are on the verge of dominating the playoff system.

In the last 15 years of the BCS national championship matches, 21 of the 32 teams who competed for the title were from the big-three conferences. Just as three of the four teams chosen for the playoff were from those conferences.

The playoff committee protocol calls for teams to be chosen based on championships won, the strength of schedule, competition and outcomes of common opponents, but a few of the teams, such as Florida St. and Alabama, did not measure up to those standards.


 

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What doesn’t make sense is that past championships are a contributing factor in which teams are chosen for the playoff matches. The team that is playing on the field the season after a championship could be a completely different team.

Last season, there were six teams fighting to make it to the first-ever college playoff: Ohio State, University of Alabama, University of Oregon, Florida State, Texas Christian University and Baylor University. Ultimately, TCU and Baylor did not make the cut, even though they should have with each teams strong performances on the season.

Ohio State and Oregon proved their dominance in their respective conferences. Oregon was 12-1 going into the first playoff game against Florida St. for the Rose Bowl before losing to Ohio St. in the Championship Game. Ohio St. went 14-1 with quarterback Cardale Jones taking the reins after Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett got injured.

I myself had to swallow an extremely large piece of humble pie and admit that Alabama did not deserve to make it to the playoffs, even though I wanted them to take home another championship.

Despite the Crimson Tide going 12-1 into the Sugar Bowl against Ohio St., Alabama had a poor season overall that should have been factored into the playoff committees decision on who should be the top four teams. Of course, Alabama has the previous National Championship titles to lean on, but the Tide showcased a completely different team than their championship squad.

Florida St., the 2013 National Champions, narrowly won the Atlantic Coast Conference game against Georgia Tech and had too many close call games with lower caliber teams.

The Seminoles may have produced the first round draft pick, but they did not have as strong of a season as their national championship year in 2013.

Both TCU and Baylor put up impressive wins last season and fought to be considered for the playoff, but ultimately Alabama and Florida St. made the final cut.

Die-hard football fans are crossing their fingers for a playoff system that will give teams who actually deserve a spot in the playoffs a chance.

The 2015 college football season kicks off Sept. 3 and the national championship match set for Jan. 11, 2016.

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