Rendell: Expand college FBS to eight

The College FBS semifinals are over, and they produced more than a little controversy.

First, the Georgia-Oklahoma matchup was a great college football game. It was action packed with one great play after another. Both teams played well enough to win, but unfortunately the game was decided by two glaring coaching mistakes by Oklahoma’s rookie coach Lincoln Riley. With six seconds left in the first half and his team having just scored to take a 31-14 lead, he decided to pooch the kickoff. The Bulldogs got great field position and were able to kick a 55-yard field goal, which made it a two-score game and gave them all the momentum. The game changed right there. In the second half and into the overtime period Riley committed his second major error. His offense, which was on fire in the first half scoring four touchdowns and a field goal, was aggressive and spectacularly innovative with Heisman winner Baker Mayfield flinging the ball all over the field. But inexplicably Riley became conservative after halftime and his offense produced only one touchdown the rest of the way, setting the stage for Georgia to earn a comeback victory.

In the second game, Alabama crushed top ranked Clemson, ending the argument that you shouldn’t be in the playoff if you didn’t win your conference championship. Many experts had argued that Ohio State should have been in the playoff instead of the Crimson Tide because Ohio State won its conference title and Alabama hadn’t. Earlier that day, the University of Central Florida Knights completed an undefeated season by beating an Auburn team that had defeated both Alabama and Georgia in the regular season. UCF’s coach said after the game that his team, the only undefeated team in the nation, deserved to be crowned National Champions even though they weren’t even picked to be in the playoffs. Good point! So the controversy rages on!

The solution is obvious in light of all this, and I’ve been saying it for years: Expand the playoffs to eight teams! This year that would have let UCF and Ohio State in, as well as probably Wisconsin and USC. The highly hypocritical NCAA says this would add another week to the football schedule, taking “study time” away from their “student athletes.” If that was a legitimate concern, and it isn’t, it could be addressed by getting rid of the Conference Championship games. As the Alabama-Ohio State dispute showed, winning a conference championship game is no guarantee of making the playoffs. This year only three of the power five conference champs got in.

So let’s expand to eight; it’ll be great! Wouldn’t you have liked to watch UCF vs. ‘Bama!