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Dr. Saturday

Doc Five: Ways to make college football’s Final Four perfect – No. 1, expand it to eight teams

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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.

(USA Today Sports Images)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

WAYS TO MAKE COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S FINAL FOUR PERFECT

NO. 1, EXPAND IT TO EIGHT TEAMS

Don't be fooled, the college football playoff that will be begin in the 2014 season isn't the perfect solution.

The college football powers were happy to slap the term "playoff" on what they're offering and try to appease the fans. It's better than the current setup. That's not saying much.

Expanding the championship from two teams to four won't be the final answer, we hope. Maybe four teams is just a test run. Figure out the logistics – and realize how much money it will make.

Then after a few years, make it a real playoff.

The NCAA tournament has figured out ways for its "student-athletes" that it tries so mightily not to exploit to participate in a three-week playoff event. Those players survive it. Two football teams every year would be exposed to possibly playing 16 games, with a conference championship and 12 regular-season games. Right now, two teams have the possibility of playing 15 games. It's not that big of a difference.

This is not the "bigger is better" argument. Expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 games was an all-time awful proposal that thankfully was shot down before basketball's postseason was ruined. Similarly, a 16-team playoff (or even 12 with byes) isn't ideal for football. The 16th-best team in college football doesn't have a right to play for a championship. But four isn't enough either.

Four teams is going to leave a few deserving clubs wondering why they weren't included. Using this number, it seems as tough as ever for a team outside of the major conferences to ever get a shot. And, really, that was probably the point of settling on four. It also makes it tough to sort out which four teams from the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC are most deserving. Someone from that group is getting left out. Not that all of those conferences produce playoff-worthy champs every year, but there will be many years when the fifth team will have a comparable resume to the third or fourth teams in the playoff. And four teams doesn't leave much wiggle room for deserving at-large teams either, much less the years Notre Dame needs a spot among the top four.

Eight teams gives the playoff a bit of everything. A deserving major-conference champion won't get left out. There's room for at-large teams that obviously deserve a chance. There is also room for smaller conference teams that earn a shot. And when it comes down to it, the ninth team in the pecking order won't usually have a compelling argument that it got unfairly left out. An eight-team playoff would be the most fair way to determine the champion. As long as the field stays at four, the playoff will need fixing.

Besides, is there anyone in America who would be against four more college football playoff games every year?

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