McCarthy: College Football Playoff is perfectly flawed

Emmett McCarthy

We’re about seven weeks out from a time of year when college football fans across the country lose their minds completely.

The potential bowl games and playoffs are starting to take shape, and certain fan bases will inevitably be pissed off. Like every other year, some teams are going to be shafted. And it’s going to be awesome.


Having a playoff system makes us all feel just a little bit better about who we call champions. But with just four teams included in the playoff, it can’t do anything to change the problem of deserving teams being left out.

Right now, the four playoff teams are pegged to be Ohio State, Baylor, Utah and TCU.

What about Iowa? Oklahoma State, maybe? Sure, the Cowboys still have games scheduled against Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma that will probably knock them out of contention…but what if they manage to win two of those three?

And whoever wins the Clemson vs. Florida State game Nov. 7 will surely have a case should both teams remain undefeated otherwise. And how about the undefeated Memphis Tigers? Or what about Toledo, huh? What about Toledo?

Power Five, four-team playoff. Square peg, round hole.

No matter how awesome the CFP is in theory, there will always be at least one undeniably deserving team that gets left out. Teams get to play for the right to compete for the championship rather than relying on some committee to decide who is deserving. But at the end of the day, we are still just relying on some committee to tell us which four teams are most deserving, rather than two, like in the past.

It’s still a flawed system. Maybe that’s for the better, though, because the disarray is awfully entertaining as well.

Last year, I thought it was a travesty that Ohio State was selected over TCU. The Buckeyes had no business being in that playoff, kind of like how they had no business being in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Miami. Yeah, about that…

Every year, we will argue that Team A should not have made it into the four-team playoff over Team B. And every year that Team A goes on to win it all, we will conveniently forget about those gripes. And every year Team A gets their butts handed to them, we will harp about how the system isn’t fair.

To eliminate all doubt as to whether each and every one of the deserving programs is getting a fair shake, the playoff would have to expand to at least eight teams. That would mean three playoff games in addition to 12 regular-season games and, in some cases, a conference championship. 16 freaking games. That’s an entire NFL season. There’s no way to justify unpaid student-athletes playing that many games over the course of a semester.


It’s not fair and it never will be. Let’s accept it and move on. The Ohio State team that barely sneaks in over a TCU won’t win out and erase the doubt every year. Actually, even when they do, they can’t erase all doubt, and that’s sort of the beauty of it. I mean, I still wonder if TCU was the best team in college football last year. But then I remember that I was treated to the magic of Cardale Jones, and that Ohio State’s run was too cool to care about who the best team really was.

So here’s to Toledo, the uncrowned 2015 college football champs.

Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at and on Twitter @emccarthy22.