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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The End of a Controversial Era for College Football

The 2023-24 season marked the last four team playoff as the College football playoff
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As the clock hit 0, the University of Michigan football team was crowned champions of the 2024 season, ending a controversial era for college football. 

In 2012, the four-team playoff was proposed, completely altering the landscape of college football. For the prior 14 years, the climax of college football was the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), where the number one and two ranked teams were pinned against each other in a grueling championship game, first as one of four bowl games, and then as a stand-alone game beginning in 2007. This system produced classics such as the 2006 Rose Bowl, where Vince Young triumphantly ran into the endzone, winning the game in the final seconds. 

At the time, a playoff wasn’t the most popular of ideas, so when first proposed, there was considerable backlash. Many were worried about conference championship games becoming futile, as the playoff system would become a Power Five conference invitational with no possibility of other conferences reaching the playoff. There were also concerns that this format was just a greedy move among college football’s elite to control more of the market.

Despite the fears of many fans and coaches, the inaugural College Football Playoff season in 2014 was an incredible success. TV ratings went through the roof as the underdog of the playoff, Ohio State defeated Oregon 42-20, a situation that couldn’t have occurred in The BCS system. 

Throughout the past 10 years, the four-team playoff format created the opportunity for underdogs such as the aforementioned Ohio State team in 2014 and Texas Christian University reaching the final in 2022. The four-team playoff reached its peak in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, in which successive finals came down to the last minute, producing two instant classic games.

However the four-team playoff has garnered much criticism in recent years. One common complaint was that the expansion of the playoff didn’t go far enough. At the end of each season, there would be at least one team deserving of a playoff spot that would get snubbed by the CFP committee. This issue reached a boiling point this past season, when the undefeated and ACC champions, Florida State, were excluded from the playoffs after a season ending injury to star quarterback Jordan Travis. FSU fans alongside many college football followers were outraged that a team who went undefeated and won their conference championship could be eliminated from the playoffs. 

Many also wanted an expansion due to the biased tendencies of the CFP. Throughout the history of the playoffs, SEC and Big 10 teams made up more than half of all appearances. In addition, only one non-Power Five Conference team made the playoffs.

In the 2024 season, college football is moving to a new format that hopes to fit this problem: the 12-team playoff.

In this new structure, the champions of the top five conferences are guaranteed a playoff spot with the next seven highest ranking teams also qualifying. This system allows for the champions of each top conference to participate in the playoffs, creating a more diverse pool of teams. It also gives a non-Power Five Conference team a secure spot in the playoffs, opening an opportunity for incredible Cinderella stories. It ensures that all of the year’s top teams get a chance to win a championship. Davis Doan is a senior at Summit high school and is a huge Oregon State fan. He is very excited about the switch to a 12 team playoff.

Doan believes that the new format will lead to “more thrilling and intense rivalries”.

Like previous changes to the college system, there are plenty of skeptics who aren’t welcoming this new change. One of the biggest complaints is that, with the expanded playoffs, the regular season will lose some meaning. Throughout the ten year reign of the four-team playoff, no team with more than one loss made the playoffs. This put extreme pressure on teams to stay focused throughout the whole season. However with 12 teams, top schools can afford to lose a game or two and still make the playoffs. 

While this may be true for the top teams, the expanded playoffs will motivate teams that could have only dreamed of a playoff berth in the era of the four-team system, to work harder during the regular season. This hard work will have a better chance of being rewarded by having the expanded playoff. 

Max Basurto is a senior at Summit High School and is a college football fanatic. He is welcoming to the expanded system despite the criticisms.

Basurto states that “the twelve team playoff creates more meaningful games because bowl games have become boring due to teams not being in the playoffs”.

Also in a 4 team bracket a team like FSU can win every single game and still miss the playoffs, thus making their regular season results essentially pointless.

The slightly less meaningful regular season is traded for an even more exciting postseason, where the champion has to prove themselves over more than just two games. This ensures that the winner is truly the best team in the country.

As college football continues to evolve, the 12 team playoff is a positive change with the potential to change how college football is viewed. No longer will the traditional schools be holding all the spotlight once bowl season comes around. The switch to an expanded playoff will make college football more inclusive, entertaining, and will guarantee the best team is the champion at the end of the season.

 

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About the Contributor
Will Beltramini, Website Editor
Will Beltramini is a senior here at Summit High School. You can often find him on the soccer field preparing for his next game or listening to his large record collection with his dog. Will loves nothing more than the outdoors, whether backpacking, biking, trail running, Will enjoys it all. In addition to this, Will also enjoys hitting the slopes of Bachelor with his snowboard and exploring different cultures through traveling. This is his second year writing for The Pinnacle, and he is excited to be one of two website managers.

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