By: Brent Raines ~Staff Writer~
The sports universe has been introduced to the first college football playoffs. Now well into the season, college football has proven this will not be disappointing in any way, shape or form.
No other major sport in America has games with crucial postseason implications like college football does. Even the best NFL and college basketball teams pick up two or three losses over the course of the season. The best MLB and NBA teams have dozens.
Many playoff critics thought that a playoff system would take away that “one bad game can ruin a season” element. Instead, it has had the opposite effect and is multiplying the number of teams competing for the ultimate prize — a national championship.
Before a wild week 12, which had a number of match-ups between playoff hopefuls and major upsets, there were 10 teams from the power conferences with one loss or fewer. Of those teams, eight were serious contenders for one of the four playoff spots (sorry Duke and Nebraska). Arizona State was virtually eliminated in an upset loss to Oregon State on Nov. 15.
What was a great weekend for the sport this year perhaps would not have been the same last year; Mississippi State and Florida State would have a firm grip on the two spots leading to the BCS National Championship. Until one of them would lose, every other game simply wouldn’t matter. Mississippi State’s loss would have had a negligible effect on the championship picture. The Southeastern Conference’s recent dominance would have more than likely allowed Alabama to slide into its place. Excluding the Mississippi State and Alabama game, the much ballyhooed games of the weekend wouldn’t have been more than mildly intriguing games with conference championship implications.
The playoff changed that. Now, there are seven contenders with one loss or fewer fighting for one of the four coveted spots and the SEC’s best holding tightly onto the two positions. A four-team playoff has turned the remaining schedules for the seven into their own playoffs: one loss means elimination.
Under the old system, there could be fewer than five marquee games with championship implications left on the season (including the championship itself), now there are at least triple the amount.
The college football playoff has done what many fans thought would be impossible by providing more meaningful games every week. This results in the added benefit of giving us a more authentic way to determine a champion