Bless your heart. You thought split national championships died years ago, and now there’s a Group of 5 team scheduling a parade and handing out title bonuses to its coaching staff. Like it or not, UCF has raised an important argument this week: We need an overhaul of the still-young College Football Playoff.
But there’s no reason to stop at eight teams. Or 16. Or, heck, 32. To do so would be to potentially exclude the true champion!
So let’s borrow from another sport: basketball. There’s nothing better than March Madness, right? How about a little December-and-January Madness on the gridiron? The players can take their final exams in their hotel rooms and see their families at Easter.
And why limit this to FBS? Or Division I, for that matter? We can’t claim a “national” champion without including the best teams from every level of college football. You never know when Wisconsin-Oshkosh might pull a major upset over, uh, Alabama.
Here’s a look at the alternate reality in which we have zero questions about our 2017 national champion:
2017 College Football Playoff matchups
Orange Bowl region
- No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 16 St. Thomas (Minn.)
- No. 8 Troy vs. No. 9 James Madison
- No. 5 LSU vs. No. 12 Kennesaw State
- No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 13 East Mississippi
- No. 6 N.C. State vs. No. 11 Wofford
- No. 3 Penn State vs. No. 14 Assumption (Mass.)
- No. 7 Boise State vs. No. 10 Weber State
- No. 2 USC vs. No. 15 Saint Francis (Ind.)
Cotton Bowl region
- No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 16 Wartburg
- No. 8 Toledo vs. No. 9 Jacksonville State
- No. 5 Washington State vs. No. 12 McNeese
- No. 4 TCU vs. No. 13 Iowa Western
- No. 6 Mississippi State vs. No. 11 Western Illinois
- No. 3 Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 14 West Alabama
- No. 7 USF vs. No. 10 North Carolina A&T
- No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 15 Reinhardt
Sugar Bowl region
- No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 16 Mary Hardin-Baylor
- No. 8 Army vs. No. 9 Central Arkansas
- No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Samford
- No. 4 Notre Dame vs. No. 13 Arizona Western
- No. 6 Virginia Tech vs. No. 11 Stony Brook
- No. 3 Washington vs. No. 14 Indiana (Penn.)
- No. 7 San Diego State vs. No. 10 South Dakota State
- No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 15 Morningside
Rose Bowl region
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 16 Wisconsin-Oshkosh
- No. 8 Fresno State vs. No. 9 North Dakota State
- No. 5 Memphis vs. No. 12 Southern Utah
- No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 13 Snow
- No. 6 Northwestern vs. No. 11 Grambling
- No. 3 UCF vs. No. 14 West Florida
- No. 7 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 10 Sam Houston State
- No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Southern Oregon
Will this shorten the regular season? Nope!
What about player safety? They’re in school to play football, not sit around!
OK. Who should I bet on? Mark it down: UCF should knock off Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia and Clemson to capture the 2017 national championship. But if you don’t want to go all in on Scott Frost’s team, there’s always Wartburg, whose opportunistic defense should slow down Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Round of 64.
So … who ya got? Let us know in the comments section below.