The Tulane Hullabaloo

From the Basement: The problem with playoffs

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In 2014, the college football playoff was introduced. Touted as a flawless replacement for the poorly-structured BCS bowl championship, it has only proven to be an expanded revival of the tired system, complete with poor judgment and complete exclusion of any team that lies outside of the Power 5.

As the rankings currently stand, Wisconsin, one of two undefeated teams remaining in the FBS, is at No. 4 in the rankings, while Auburn, a team which has lost twice this season, jumped to the No. 2 spot after defeating the previously No. 1 Alabama.

Auburn is a necessity in the top four because the college football playoff is desperate to follow a tried and true formula: the champion of the SEC, Auburn’s conference, must be in the playoff. This also goes for the Big Ten champion, meaning that two-loss Ohio State will be in the playoff if it beats Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game, leapfrogging one-loss teams Miami, Georgia and Alabama, which was touted by analysts as the best team in America up until five days ago.

Meanwhile down at the No. 14 spot is the FBS’s other undefeated team, the University of Central Florida. The common excuse for UCF’s low ranking is that they have played an easy schedule. UCF, however, defeated 9-2 South Florida last week and handed No. 20 Memphis its only loss of the season in a 40-13 blowout. The team has defeated all but two of its opponents by double-digits.

UCF, however, is in the American Athletic Conference, considered a weaker conference because it lies outside of the Power 5 conferences. Back in the days of the BCS system, non-Power 5 teams like TCU and Boise State would often go undefeated and lie right outside of the top two. This was cited as one of the reasons for the expansion to a four-team tournament, to include teams like this. The tournament, however, has evolved into a system that shuns teams like UCF in favor of known teams like Auburn and potentially Ohio State, despite their losses, which should remove them from contention.

Despite Auburn’s fantastic achievement of defeating Alabama, no two-loss team belongs in the playoff. The same goes for Ohio State should it be able to defeat Wisconsin. Ohio State was blown out by Iowa, an unranked team, while Auburn laid an egg against LSU, a team that couldn’t even defeat Troy.

Does UCF deserve a spot over these teams?

Different people will have different opinions, but the fact is that we’ll never have an answer to this question. That’s because the Knights, regardless of whether they once again beat Memphis in a rematch for the AAC championship, will watch the playoff from the couch. They’ll be sent to one of the least important of the New Year’s Day bowls, and they’ll most likely win in blowout fashion, leaving everyone to wonder whether they deserved a spot for which they were never even considered.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Shea is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
From the Basement: The problem with playoffs