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The Daily Tar Heel

Viewpoints: Expand the bracket

Rajee headshot

Opinion writer Rajee Ganesan poses for a portrait. Photo courtesy of Rajee Ganesan.

Rajee Ganesan offers her viewpoint on whether to expand the college football playoffs. For Ryan Smoot's dissenting opinion, click here. 

Someone has to eventually get tired of watching Alabama or Clemson play in the national championship for college football, right?

The current 4-team playoff system for college football works based on a ranking made by a selection committee of previous football coaches, athletic directors and players. In addition, the rankings are heavily biased, based on a variety of factors: schedule strength, division and personal outlook on each team. 

Every year since 2015, Alabama has been one of those four teams. Since 2016, so has Clemson. This is for a good reason — they are some of the best teams in college football today.

However, by limiting the number of teams competing for a national championship to only four, strong teams that may have had phenomenal seasons are left out of the running. For example, this year’s rankings are currently packed with teams that also boast a 9-1 record, with only three teams in the country remaining undefeated at the top of the pack. 

In addition, under the current system, teams that are bound by their division to play a certain caliber of competition  — like Appalachian State in the Sun Belt — can never break the top 20 in the rankings simply due to the lack of rigor in their schedules. Meanwhile, SEC teams have the opportunity to play some of the biggest names in college football every weekend, and have the easiest bids into the rankings.

Expanding the bracket would create more revenue for schools in terms of ticket sales, gear and attention from NFL recruiters. It would also allow for team matchups across regional divisions that we may not get to see in the regular season. The change would give teams that aren’t in the SEC, or stronger divisions, a shot at a championship. It would also allow for some interesting games, and even potentially upsets in top teams: Minnesota and Penn State, anyone?

Moving the college football bracket to eight teams instead of four, and stretching out the postseason, gives teams that get edged out by a selection committee the chance to make their regular-season efforts worth something more than a bowl game. It would also allow for potential impartiality across divisions. Above all, the expansion would be a change of pace to make the game interesting to watch again.

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