It's easy to say this year's College Football Playoff was disappointing. All three games were blowouts. There were complaints over Notre Dame and Oklahoma qualifying for the third and fourth spots over Georgia and Ohio State.
All of this has some fans and media members questioning if a four-team playoff was a mistake. Maybe four teams are too many? Maybe it should go back to just two teams?
No, no, no, no.
If anything, this year proves why the playoff field should be expanded to eight teams. Look, does anyone ever say there are too many teams in the NCAA men's basketball tournament? It was 64 for more than two decades, then 65, now 68. Does anyone think the last team in has a realistic chance of winning the national championship?
No, but as we've seen recently, upsets happen, the underdog has their day. Loyola-Chicago actually makes it to the Final Four. No. 16 seed UMBC shocks No. 1 seed Virginia. This is what makes not just the NCAAs but sports great, David slays Goliath.
This can happen in a way in college football too. Clemson had beaten Alabama two years ago for the title in a stunner. The Tigers were about a touchdown underdog Monday night and still blew out the Crimson Tide. Yes, blowouts can be boring but who expected that result?
Now I'm not going to equate Clemson's title with UMBC's upset or Loyola-Chicago's Final Four berth, they're very different achievements but the fact remains the favorite didn't win because the underdog got a fair shot.
And while there were three blowouts this year doesn't mean that's going to happen in the future. All three games next year could come down to the final possession. Using this year as an example is foolish.
Let's look at how Syracuse factors into this (and I know six months ago my intelligence would have been questioned for saying that). The Orange came within a play of almost beating Clemson. If Syracuse had run the table after that loss, (they lost to Pitt in OT and were blown out by Notre Dane), they would have finished 11-1. But since that loss came to division foe Clemson, the Orange would not have been in the ACC title game with a chance to atone and maybe grab one of the four playoff berths.
And that could happen again for the next few years. Syracuse has to play Clemson every season and yes, while they did upset them in 2017, it's still a pretty big hurdle to overcome.
Now if there's an eight-team playoff, Syracuse still has good chance of getting in even if they lose to Clemson. All of the Power Five (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12) conference winners could get an automatic bid and the last three spots could go to at-large teams. So UCF, which was undefeated in 2017 and was 12-0 going into its bowl game last season, would have a fair chance to make the playoff.
There are logistical concerns, such as where to play the first-round games, but all of these can be worked out. We're only talking about one extra game. You could still have the first round in late December and the semis right after New Year's. As for the championship, personally, I'd play it the Saturday before the Super Bowl when the CFP would have the sports weekend to itself.
The College Football Playoff is light years ahead of the old BCS or back when it'd be luck that the top two teams would decide the title in a bowl game. It's been about five years, it's time to do some tweaking and an eight-team playoff would be the last thing needed to maximize its potential.