Nicole Auerbach sent the college football world into a frenzy on Wednesday morning when she dropped this article on The Athletic: ‘We don’t need to wait another six years’: College football leaders ready to discuss eight-team Playoff.
Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowslby — two of the sport's most notable power brokers — said it's time to discuss expanding the four-team playoff now, not closer to 2024 when the current 12-year contract ends.
The proposal: Eight teams, five Power Five conference champions, the top-ranked Group of Five team and two at-large teams. (They also proposed eliminating all conference championships, though that will never happen and isn't relevant in this discussion.)
"UCF should have that opportunity," Alvarez declared.
El oh el.
Barry Alvarez, of all people, is advocating for the little guy. Good one, Barry.
But, for fun, let's bite. Let's chew on the well-circulated playoff expansion proposal that includes a Group of Five auto bid. And then let's spit it out, stomp it into oblivion and shove it down the sewer.
It's mind-numbingly stupid.
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In the College Football Playoff era, how many Group of Five teams have finished in the top 10 of the final playoff rankings? One: 2018 UCF. The Knights' recent run has polluted what should be a legitimate expansion discussion. Instead, it's a mockery built on recency bias that, if instituted, would more often than not shove undeserving teams into the playoff.
Here is the top-ranked Group of Five team in the final rankings since 2000 (playoff 2014-18, BCS 2000-13):
*Final AP rankings because BCS standings (top 16) didn't include a Group of Five team.
After a four-year run of top-10 Group of Five teams from 2008-11, no team finished higher than 15th for the next five years.
And yes, I understand the BCS was severely flawed. This isn't meant as a "See! BYU finished 20th in 2006! They don't deserve an auto-bid playoff spot!"
The point: In 12 of the last 19 years, the highest-ranked Group of Five team was 10th or worse. That team was 14th or worse in 10 years, 18th or worse in five years and 20th two times.
In what world would 2012 Northern Illinois be deserving of a playoff spot? Or 2013 UCF, 2014 Boise State, 2015 Houston or 2016 Western Michigan?
The 2010 TCU team should've been in an eight-team playoff. Same with 2009 TCU or 2008 Utah. But in the last two decades, rarely is there a Group of Five team even worthy of inclusion in an eight-team auto-bid playoff discussion, let alone worthy of inclusion in the actual field.
UCF's success has prompted an important discussion. The recency bias, however, has led to illogical conclusions.