College Football's Playoff: Big On Money, Missing Exciting Semifinals

January 7, 2017 by Dave Congrove

It's the third year of the college football playoff and it's been the cash cow everyone expected it to be with postseason money exploding across the board. But it has also fallen short on creating competitive matchups, even while remaining a closed society.

Only 8 different schools have filled the 3-year cumulative of 12 possible slots. Alabama has appeared all 3 years. Clemson and Ohio State have each gained entry twice. Five other teams have gained entry once.

Among the 5 one-timers to appear (Oregon, Florida State, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Washington) only Oregon won a single contest. The others lost their only game by 17 points or more. The Ducks managed to advance to the 2014 championship game by blowing out Florida State 59-20, only to then turn around and get blown out themselves by Ohio State, 42-20.

Indeed, the lack of competitive games in the College Football Playoff is astonishing.

Consider that 6 of the 8 games played within the framework of the College Football Playoffs have been complete yawners, with 3 of the 8 contests decided by at least 31 points.

The only two games that have been close are Ohio State's semifinal 42-35 win over Alabama in 2014, and Alabama's 45-40 championship victory last season over Clemson.

By comparison, the 16 games played during the BCS years saw just 1 game be determined by more than 28 points, and only 5 were decided by 21 points or more. 8 of the 16 BCS games were decided by 8 points or less.

Vegas has anticipated somewhat lopsided results, giving every final contest a touchdown spread. Oregon by 7 in 2014, Alabama by 6-1/2 last year, and Alabama by 7 this year. The Congrove Computer Rankings had Oregon by less than a point in 2014, but Alabama by over 9-1/2 each of the last 2 years.

Conversely, the majority of BCS final games had Vegas lines of under 6 points. Multiple games opened at under 3.5 points.

Maybe there never was anything to the "more is better" mentality, after all.