Students React to 2019 College Football Playoffs

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The number of teams in the College Football Playoff could soon be increased to eight
from the original four, according to rumors circulating in the world of sports. The debate of the right number of teams in the playoffs happens every year, but is particularly strong among
Westminster students this year after the University of Georgia was left out of the playoffs. The
four teams in this year’s playoff were Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Notre Dame. On
January 7th , Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 to win the title. Sophomore Maddie Van Slyke
expressed her frustration with the final four in the playoffs.
“It’s just really compelling to see a Georgia boy represent our state on such a national
level,” said Van Slyke. “It’s too bad it didn’t happen this year.”
With 114 Westminster students attending the University of Georgia over the past five
years, many other Westminster students share in Van Slyke’s disappointment. Junior Anna Bass
still remains a supporter of the Georgia Bulldogs even after they failed to make it into the
playoffs.
“Go Dawgs,” said Bass.
With the abundance of Georgia fans at Westminster, many students felt passionate about
Clemson’s win over Alabama. Since Georgia lost to Alabama 28-35 in the SEC Championship,
and Alabama has already won 17 national championships, many students supported Clemson,
which was considered somewhat of an underdog. The Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, is
also a popular figure among fans. Lawrence is a freshman from Cartersville, Georgia, and many
students admire his faith and dedication. Though she is not normally a Clemson fan, Bass
cheered on the Tigers, especially Lawrence, in the National Championship game.
“I’m really proud of Trevor Lawrence for doing a great job for Clemson and leading the
team to a victory over Alabama,” said Bass. Freshman QB’s rarely get an opportunity to start in
their freshman season, so many thought the lights were going to be too bright for Lawrence.
“Though everyone thought that Trevor Lawrence would choke and have a token
‘freshman moment,’ he pulled through and played an excellent game,” said junior Virginia
Bailey.
While there are many Georgia supporters, there are also many who felt that UGA did not
deserve a spot in the Final Four. Though she likes Georgia, Van Slyke advocated for a team with
a better record to have a spot in the playoffs.
“If you claim to be the best team in the country, then you should be able to win the games
that will lead you to that spot,” said Van Slyke. “Kirby needs to get in control of his team.”
Georgia was a two-loss team, meaning they lost two games during their season. In the
history of the National Championship games, a two-loss team has never made the playoffs.
Senior William Foshee agreed that, out of four teams, a team with two losses should not make
the playoffs.
“Georgia shouldn’t have been in the playoffs,” said Foshee. “They can’t let a two loss
team in.”
However, if the number of teams in the playoffs was increased to six or eight, there
would have been a different outcome. Since its installment, the playoffs have consisted of four
teams, but every year rumors circulate about increasing it to eight or decreasing it to two teams.
Before the College Football Playoff, there were only two teams. Now, a committee decides the
top four teams by weighting different components, like the strength of the schedule and
conference championships. However, playoff committee chair Rob Mullens described the large
amount of disagreement this year in selecting the fourth team.
“There was a lot of debate about Oklahoma, Georgia, and Ohio State,” said Mullens.
“The debate was deep, detailed, and occasionally contentious.”
By increasing the number of teams, competitive teams like UGA and OSU would have a
chance at winning the National Championship title.
Increasing the number of teams would also allow equal representation of Power-5
conferences in the playoff. Power-5 conferences are the five conferences that divide teams based
on location: the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference (B1G), Big 12
Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). With only four spots in
the playoffs, a Power-5 conference is left out.
An increase to eight teams would also allow non-Power-5 teams an opportunity to win
the title. Having more teams would allow undefeated teams like the 2017-2018 UCF Knights a
chance to play against some of the best teams in the country. “Bracket busters,” which are games
in which a low-ranking team unexpectedly defeats a high-ranking team, would also be possible.
With more teams in the playoffs, there would be greater interest in College Football when
December comes around. March Madness, the time of the NCAA basketball playoffs, includes
68 teams in the bracket. CNBC reports that betting on March Madness games will hit $10 billion
this March. If the College Football Playoff increased to eight teams, there would be more money
involved in many aspects. Foshee shared his thoughts on this topic as well.
“The number of teams should be increased to eight because there’s more money in it for
the NCAA and bowl games,” said Foshee. “There would also be also more excitement around
each game and the playoffs in general.”

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