Michigan-Notre Dame could become The Great Debate.
It may not matter the Fighting Irish won, and handily, when the two teams met to open the season.
And therein lies the issue.
How, in good conscious, could the College Football Playoff Committee, if both Michigan and Notre Dame conclude the season with one loss, pick the Wolverines over the Fighting Irish?
The head-to-head game should be the ultimate determining factor if both teams finish with one loss, right?
It could turn out that way. Notre Dame could slip up in its final two games vs. 12th-ranked (Associated Press Poll) and underrated Syracuse (just a 4-point loss to Clemson), or arch rival and still-talented (although under-achieving) Southern California (road game).
It would be a shock if that scenario plays out if Michigan didn’t vault over Notre Dame in the CFP rankings – and ND would be out. The logic will be: “Michigan is just a different team now.”
And it would contain an element of truth.
Yet, it would be difficult to make the argument the Wolverines have the better body of work. Notre Dame has a marquee victory – over Michigan.
I don’t claim to be smart enough to have the definitive answer to the argument. I do know such situations beg for subjective decisions by the CFP committee, and feel strongly it’s inherently wrong considering the obvious answer is staring the world in the face.
The College Football Playoff should be expanded to eight teams. The winners of each Power 5 conference should automatically be in. It would leave wiggle room for three other teams to placed in. It would not only avoid precarious situations like the above-mentioned involving Notre Dame and Michigan, but provide justice for non-Power 5 programs like Central Florida, who have earned their way in.
An added benefit: It would add luster to conference championship games across the board.
There is a no-lose element to it.
The traditional arguments against expanding the CFP ring hollow. It’s already taken away luster from the bowl games, which will continue to thrive regardless in their own unique way.
The idea it would somehow hinder athletes academically is laughable, especially considering the extra week would take place when school is out any way.
The system as is makes no more sense than the days of the NCAA basketball tournament with 16 teams, or when the high school football playoffs in this state had just four per classification.
It’s understood there is limit to this. I wouldn’t want to see CFP go to 16 teams.
The perfect balance is eight teams. It’s couldn’t be more obvious.