Would expanding CFB playoffs create more parity? Interesting article on it from The Athletic

Gopher_In_NYC

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On a recent podcast, you mentioned that an expanded playoffs might lead to more parity in college football. On a less recent podcast, you mentioned that recruits look mainly at which schools can get them in the NFL. Do you think a top recruit is going to forgo NFL Draft factory Alabama to play in Ames, Iowa, because an eight-team playoff gives Iowa State a better chance to play a meaningful postseason game? (I don’t, nor do I think that a bigger playoff is the cure-all that it’s made out to be.) — Dan K.

You’re right. I have said both of those things and believe one much more than the other. The one I believe the most is that players ultimately are most influenced in the recruiting process by which program is more likely to develop them into an NFL Draft pick. Program tradition, stadiums, competing for national titles, facilities, education and whatever other criteria you can come up with certainly matter. But the bottom line for prospects, is, well, the bottom line. They all want to be pros, and they all want to be rich.

But it’s a cycle, right? The best players in high school football are going to the same six programs. So, of course, those programs are going to produce more pros. For some hard statistics, 56 of the top 100 players in the 2021 class signed with one of six schools — Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and LSU. That number can still go up, too, since a few players have yet to sign. That’s more than half of the most elite prospects going to only six schools. Yes, outstanding coaching and development is a factor, but the biggest factor in this whole business is natural talent and the potential that comes along with it. But given the aforementioned numbers, which schools do you think are going to have the most draft picks for the next four years?

The discussion, then, has to be about breaking that cycle. What has to happen in the world of college football for the talent coming out of high school to be more evenly distributed? How can more programs get in with these top 100 players? The answer is that this is a process and it isn’t going to happen overnight, and that shift — if it ever happens — isn’t going to start with the top 100 players.

This brings us to the other comment I made on the podcasts about expanding the Playoff. That was one of the things I think could make these middle-tier teams such as Iowa State more attractive to the players in the top 500 who would be the lowest-ranked players in Alabama’s class. Maybe in the world of an expanded Playoff, the ability to go build something at a new place will be more attractive to the very good football players who are sometimes afterthoughts to the big programs. They can sign with a program such as Iowa State and think, “Hey, I can go there and compete at the highest level and play in big games rather than being the low man on the totem pole at Alabama.’”

That doesn’t address the NFL aspect of this, but these kids have to go somewhere, and the more spots there are in the Playoff, the more the talent may be spread out. Sticking with the Iowa State example — since the Cyclones are truly elite at talent evaluation — maybe they sign higher-rated players out of that second tier and put more players into the NFL. If this continues year after year, you have a program that can gradually improve before it hypothetically could arrive as a real contender for those top 100 players.

An expanded playoff would make Group of 5 teams more attractive, as well. It would make the teams that finish second, third and fourth in their conference every year more attractive. The hope is that it would create more parity.

This is a very difficult problem to solve, and my response is just a theory. Another theory would be to cut scholarship limits so the Alabamas of the world can’t take as many players, thus resulting in the spreading of wealth, but that is flawed because it would take opportunities away from the high school athletes who have earned them.

The real takeaway is this: There is a problem in college football because the football factories are monopolizing the talent, and I’d be down for a conversation about anything that could help the sport gain more parity through a more even distribution of elite-level high school talent.


I basically agree with his overall premise that this may loosen up the Top 100 recruits and had a cascading effect from the Top 500 players as well.

I think Fleck is uniquely situated because of his wholistic approach and has found a niche where he can excel. I think this recruiting cycle is good indicator as we are starting to get high end West Coast recruits (which hasn't happened since 19??/ever??) and the high end transfers.
 

MplsGopher

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The best players in high school football are going to the same six programs.
To me, this is the actual heart of the matter.

Until and if there is some way to distribute the best of the best high school prospects to the P5, then it's always going to be the situation as described by this quote, no matter what and no matter how the playoff expands.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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No... it won't help as far as parity goes.

The only thing that will help parity would be reducing scholarships .... that's not fun, has issues, but that's it. Everything else is moving deck chairs.
 

MplsGopher

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Or putting in a top recruit distribution system (ie, P5 Draft). That is probably the least likely to happen.

Or even a conference distribution. Let's say a recruit commits to play for The Big Ten. Then the BT takes all those players and has a draft among the conference schools.

Also not likely. But just saying, it would certainly increase parity, if that was the only thing you cared about.
 

MNfootballfan

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I don't think we need any more parity in college football... we just need fair opportunities for all schools and have games decided on the field.

I would expand the playoffs to 8, 10, or 12 teams.
- All conference champions get in (10 spots)
- 2 open spots for independent or best team not in
- The only need for a committee is to determine the extra spots (if applicable) and determine the seedings

I think this would put more importance on the regular season. Every conference game matters. It would also possibly allow more exciting pre-season games because there isn't a punishment for losing them. If anything it could build their resume for seedings.

To the best of my knowledge, NCAA FBS Football is the only sports league in the world where half the teams are never given a chance to compete for the championship before the year begins.
 

hungan1

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Would expanding the playoffs to at least eight schools help Gopher Recruiting?

If players that are in a crowded depth chart in Alabama, Clemson, or tOSU, will some of them consider transferring to a teaching/development program like the Gophers?

The Gophers are starting to see quality transfers into the program.

If recruits see these players getting drafted, maybe more would be interested.

Bottom line is PJ Fleck has to win a Big Ten Title. If it takes a rag tag group of transfers to get it started, so be it.

Maybe they will win over the Avante Dickersons of this world.
 

WAGopher

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I don't think we need any more parity in college football... we just need fair opportunities for all schools and have games decided on the field.

I would expand the playoffs to 8, 10, or 12 teams.
- All conference champions get in (10 spots)
- 2 open spots for independent or best team not in
- The only need for a committee is to determine the extra spots (if applicable) and determine the seedings

I think this would put more importance on the regular season. Every conference game matters. It would also possibly allow more exciting pre-season games because there isn't a punishment for losing them. If anything it could build their resume for seedings.

To the best of my knowledge, NCAA FBS Football is the only sports league in the world where half the teams are never given a chance to compete for the championship before the year begins.

I think the G5 should have their own 8 team playoff. Otherwise, I just don’t see one of their teams ever winning another national championship. BYU (1984) was the last G5 school to win it, and college football is much different today.
 

btowngopher

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There was more parity when there was no playoff or when there was a two team playoff.
 

btowngopher

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I don't think we need any more parity in college football... we just need fair opportunities for all schools and have games decided on the field.

I would expand the playoffs to 8, 10, or 12 teams.
- All conference champions get in (10 spots)
- 2 open spots for independent or best team not in
- The only need for a committee is to determine the extra spots (if applicable) and determine the seedings

I think this would put more importance on the regular season. Every conference game matters. It would also possibly allow more exciting pre-season games because there isn't a punishment for losing them. If anything it could build their resume for seedings.

To the best of my knowledge, NCAA FBS Football is the only sports league in the world where half the teams are never given a chance to compete for the championship before the year begins.
If you want the regular season games to matter more and have more exciting preseason games then get rid of the playoffs all together or reduce it to two teams. Less teams = every game matters and strength of schedule matters, which leads to better non conference matchups.
 

upnorthkid

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Expanding the playoffs will in no way influence parity. The players go to programs where money is pumped in and development pipelines are clear. You put guys in the NFL, more guys who want to be in the NFL will come there. The only argument you could make that the playoff expansion would help is that it potentially allows for more income to the next crop down of teams, but in reality you need to be there consistently for it to have any impact on money being put back into facilities, etc. There won't be "parity" in college football. The talent is too condensed into certain teams that have the money and track record to entice people to come there. That doesn't mean occasionally those teams won't have a shit year (looking at you LSU) and some teams who have their talent come together correctly won't have a big year (Cinci, ISU, BYU, CC), but there's always going to be the top core of 3-4 teams (or less) who are head and shoulders better than the rest because you need a team and depth and guys are willing to go places and sit on the bench knowing they've gotta be there for 3 years anyway so might as well be developing with the best. It's different in basketball where you can leave after a year and playing time is more important, hence why parity has become the norm across college BB
 

Some guy

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Multiple rounds of playoffs make upsets more likely as well as the 2-3 most talented teams in the country don’t get a whole month to learn every single thing an opponent does.
 

PMWinSTP

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I don't think we need any more parity in college football... we just need fair opportunities for all schools and have games decided on the field.

I would expand the playoffs to 8, 10, or 12 teams.
- All conference champions get in (10 spots)
- 2 open spots for independent or best team not in
- The only need for a committee is to determine the extra spots (if applicable) and determine the seedings

I think this would put more importance on the regular season. Every conference game matters. It would also possibly allow more exciting pre-season games because there isn't a punishment for losing them. If anything it could build their resume for seedings.

To the best of my knowledge, NCAA FBS Football is the only sports league in the world where half the teams are never given a chance to compete for the championship before the year begins.
How would a 12 team playoff look? Four teams get byes? How would a 10 team playoff work? Two play-in games?
 

MplsGopher

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How would a 12 team playoff look? Four teams get byes? How would a 10 team playoff work? Two play-in games?
It's a 16 team bracket, with as many bye's needed to make up for the "missing" teams.
 

MNfootballfan

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If you want the regular season games to matter more and have more exciting preseason games then get rid of the playoffs all together or reduce it to two teams. Less teams = every game matters and strength of schedule matters, which leads to better non conference matchups.
I disagree. I think there is a certain amount of teams to make every game count. Currently, every game does not count. Alabama has made the playoffs twice by not even playing in their conference championship games.

If you put the rule in that teams have to win their conference that makes the regular season infinitely more competitive.
 

MplsGopher

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If you put the rule in that teams have to win their conference that makes the regular season infinitely more competitive.
Which obviously will require an auto-bid for each P5. I'd be fine doing that and then the sixth bid being the highest ranked G5 champion, as well. So, moving from four to six bids.
 

MaxyJR1

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To me, this is the actual heart of the matter.

Until and if there is some way to distribute the best of the best high school prospects to the P5, then it's always going to be the situation as described by this quote, no matter what and no matter how the playoff expands.
The only way to do so and keep the choices for players is to have salary and budget caps on coaches and programs. You can't dictate where players are going to go. This will likely not happen in the next 20+ years
 

btowngopher

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I disagree. I think there is a certain amount of teams to make every game count. Currently, every game does not count. Alabama has made the playoffs twice by not even playing in their conference championship games.

If you put the rule in that teams have to win their conference that makes the regular season infinitely more competitive.
That eliminates some of the best teams though. So I guess only letting the conference champions in would possibly create more parity as far as the talent level across conferences. But I could see it creating less parity within conferences.
 

GraniteCityGopher

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MplsGopher, "Or putting in a top recruit distribution system (ie, P5 Draft). That is probably the least likely to happen."

Yes, parish the thought! This is about amateur athletics, when we have the NCAA manipulating which schools a kid can consider, we travel down the path of a semi-pro league. A limitation on scholarships is far more palatable. And let's face it, whether a school, its alum base or its administration (er, local government) wants to fund a football factory is a matter of priorities.
 

Some guy

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That eliminates some of the best teams though. So I guess only letting the conference champions in would possibly create more parity as far as the talent level across conferences. But I could see it creating less parity within conferences.
disagree

If you take the polls out of it.

Why does Minnesota have a Minnesota kid leave to go to Ohio state?
Ohio state more likely to make playoff?


Minnesota is 9-0 two years ago and people are asking can Minnesota make it even if unbeaten? Meanwhile Ohio state made it without winning conference once.

All conference champs making it enhances the value of the regular season while making the postseason more equitable and more games:


the best scenario is a 12 or 16 team playoff with all 10 conference champs making it. And objective measure (like the BCS or something) ranks all teams for the 2-6 at larges and the seeding.


The biggest reason for conference champs to make it is to expand the playoff without killing the regular season. College football regular season is the best regular season in college or pro sports. Auto bids for all conference champs is the only way to expand the playoff without killing that.

You could even add a stipulation that if one of the 10 auto bids isn’t in the objective top 25 the bid converts to another at large or something.


also- added bonus- it would incentivize smaller conferences (that would likely be more regional and better for fans)
 

PMWinSTP

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Which obviously will require an auto-bid for each P5. I'd be fine doing that and then the sixth bid being the highest ranked G5 champion, as well. So, moving from four to six bids.
So four teams would basically have play-in games. Notre Dame?
 

btowngopher

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disagree

If you take the polls out of it.

Why does Minnesota have a Minnesota kid leave to go to Ohio state?
Ohio state more likely to make playoff?


Minnesota is 9-0 two years ago and people are asking can Minnesota make it even if unbeaten? Meanwhile Ohio state made it without winning conference once.

All conference champs making it enhances the value of the regular season while making the postseason more equitable and more games:


the best scenario is a 12 or 16 team playoff with all 10 conference champs making it. And objective measure (like the BCS or something) ranks all teams for the 2-6 at larges and the seeding.


The biggest reason for conference champs to make it is to expand the playoff without killing the regular season. College football regular season is the best regular season in college or pro sports. Auto bids for all conference champs is the only way to expand the playoff without killing that.

You could even add a stipulation that if one of the 10 auto bids isn’t in the objective top 25 the bid converts to another at large or something.


also- added bonus- it would incentivize smaller conferences (that would likely be more regional and better for fans)
Minnesota would obviously make the playoff if they were undefeated. I don’t see how making it one team per conference would make kids pick MN over OSU, if anything it funnels kids to OSU even more.
 

MNfootballfan

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disagree

If you take the polls out of it.

Why does Minnesota have a Minnesota kid leave to go to Ohio state?
Ohio state more likely to make playoff?


Minnesota is 9-0 two years ago and people are asking can Minnesota make it even if unbeaten? Meanwhile Ohio state made it without winning conference once.

All conference champs making it enhances the value of the regular season while making the postseason more equitable and more games:


the best scenario is a 12 or 16 team playoff with all 10 conference champs making it. And objective measure (like the BCS or something) ranks all teams for the 2-6 at larges and the seeding.


The biggest reason for conference champs to make it is to expand the playoff without killing the regular season. College football regular season is the best regular season in college or pro sports. Auto bids for all conference champs is the only way to expand the playoff without killing that.

You could even add a stipulation that if one of the 10 auto bids isn’t in the objective top 25 the bid converts to another at large or something.


also- added bonus- it would incentivize smaller conferences (that would likely be more regional and better for fans)
Agree 100% with everything you said.
 

MNfootballfan

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Minnesota would obviously make the playoff if they were undefeated. I don’t see how making it one team per conference would make kids pick MN over OSU, if anything it funnels kids to OSU even more.
That wasn't the talk two years ago. Minnesota was 9-0 and was being dogged in the polls because of their early season wins didn't pass the "eye test" and it was going to come back and haunt them.
 

Some guy

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That wasn't the talk two years ago. Minnesota was 9-0 and was being dogged in the polls because of their early season wins didn't pass the "eye test" and it was going to come back and haunt them.
I think they’d have made it but the fact that it was being discussed was ridiculous
 

MplsGopher

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You can't dictate where players are going to go. This will likely not happen in the next 20+ years
Agree it won't happen (although you were probably talking about caps, not a "draft"). Disagree that you can't.

"You can't dictate which NFL teams college players sign with. Free market. They should get to select whichever players they want to sign and try to sign them, within the limits of the salary cap."

Then the counter to that will be "but they have a union and they're a private business".

I can't do anything about the private business part, but there could be a P5 (or FBS) football players union. Certainly nothing illegal or wrong with that.


Anyway, it may not be worth your time to argue because it's not going to happen. I'm fine with that. Just putting out how I feel.
 

MplsGopher

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MplsGopher, "Or putting in a top recruit distribution system (ie, P5 Draft). That is probably the least likely to happen."

Yes, parish the thought! This is about amateur athletics, when we have the NCAA manipulating which schools a kid can consider, we travel down the path of a semi-pro league. A limitation on scholarships is far more palatable. And let's face it, whether a school, its alum base or its administration (er, local government) wants to fund a football factory is a matter of priorities.
Nothing wrong with any of your arguments here.

I would simply say: the NCAA would not be limiting where anyone can go to school.

If any person wants to go to school at the U of Minnesota, fine, apply and go. Knock yourself out.

Oh, but then you demand the right to play football anywhere you want, too? See, that's not the same thing. That's on top of just going to school. So the same right doesn't extend.
 

MplsGopher

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Wasn't asking you or about a 16 team playoff, which is easy to set up.
I was just giving you the correct answer to your question.

Any number of teams in 9-16 is the same bracket as a 16 team bracket. Think on it, and get back to me if you still have any questions about that.
 
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