Of the 28 playoff spots since the CFP was created, five teams have occupied 22 of them. Six other schools have had one spot each. Most schools (including us) are essentially eliminated from playoff consideration by the end of September, and virtually everyone is out by Thanksgiving.
Whole conferences are being left out. The Pac-12 has had two bids in seven years. The Big 12 has been left out three times, and the only Big 12 team to get in is Mobilehoma.
And let’s not forget the entire Group of 5 has been completely left out. Zero for 28.
So let’s see who’s been left out: Fully half of FBS (the G of 5), entire conferences in the Power 5, and most of the rest of the P5. It’s been great for Bama and Notre Dame and Clemson and Ohio State, and has largely sucked for the other 126 schools in FBS. That’s not good for the sport.
Let’s look at an example we’re all familiar with: The Big Dance. Under the CFP model, our 2021 basketball season would have been essentially over after we lost to Bama on January 16. Putting it together in February, the deep run in the tournament, none of that would have happened. We would have gotten a mediocre bowl bid and that’s all. We weren’t good enough to win it all, but we were darn close, and we got the chance to show that in March. That can’t happen in a four-team playoff.
As always, money enters the equation. NIL is about to become a reality, and the Alston case, which goes way beyond NIL in terms of compensating athletes, is out there waiting for the Supreme Court to decide. And every school in the country lost a ton of revenue due to COVID; they need to recoup some of that, and expanding the playoffs is a way to squeeze more TV money out very quickly. ESPN does not want to lose the CFP and is going to pay to keep it beyond the end of the current deal in 2025.