Fix The College Football Playoff… An SEC Championship Hangover

Daryl Kirby | December 2, 2018

I bleed black with my red. You can hate my love for UGA, no worries. Good ol’ fashioned hate, I get it.

I’m super proud of those college kids who fought so hard, and grateful that we have a football team that’s been championship relevant for two straight seasons. Saying they have been relevant is not fair, UGA has been much more than relevant. They’ve kicked the door open two straight years with hinges and splintered wood flying into the room where the National Championship trophy sits on a pedestal. UGA did everything but step into the room and pick it up.

So now UGA will play in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, and that will be pretty cool. The students and the fans will have a big time. We’ll probably play Texas. Meanwhile, we’ll be watching Notre Dame play in the College Football Playoff semi-finals.

So, to the main point of this Sunday morning ramble—the current system stinks.

The best four teams won’t play in the College Football Playoff semis, and they rarely will with the current system. That’s because two of the best four teams will eliminate each other almost every season in the SEC Championship game. Meanwhile, lesser teams will get in having either played a not-very-good team in their conference championship game (every other conference championship), or having not even played one (Notre Dame).

Here’s the best solution to fix it. Get rid of the conference championship games. Name a conference champion based on regular season games, like we used to. Yesterday’s conference championship games—all save one—were so boring no one cared. Instead, yesterday should have been the Top 8 teams playing the quarterfinals of the playoff.

Rather than what we got on conference championship Saturday, which was one compelling game that eliminated one of the best teams from the current playoff system, we should have the quarterfinals. The Top 8 teams. And these games would be played on the college campuses of the higher seeded team. Instead of my daughter having to go to Atlanta and Uber to downtown to watch UGA, she could have walked from her dorm to watch No. 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 4 Georgia—in Athens, on Dec. 1!

Then you could watch…

No. 6 Ohio State at Notre Dame.

No. 7 Michigan at Clemson.

No. 8 UCF at Tuscaloosa to face Alabama.

The four winners go on play into College Football Playoff semis just like the current system, while the four losing teams will play in top bowl games, exactly like the No. 5-8 teams in the current playoff system. Who loses in this system? The conferences, because of money generated from a conference championship game? The city of Atlanta because they don’t get to host the SEC title game? I don’t think most years the SEC will lose by not having an SEC championship game. They’ll win. Most years the SEC will have three of the eight teams making the quarterfinals. How much money does the SEC make on a title game compared to having three teams in the playoff quarterfinals? How much money does a conference need, and at what cost to the best teams having a chance at national title?

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