Should conferences be allowed multiple bids in College Football Playoff?

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another roundtable here at The Student Section. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join Kevin Causey and a rotating guest in our weekly roundtables discussing all things college football.

Last week we discussed changes we would make to the College Football Playoff selection committee as well as who the media would vilify now that Jameis Winston is in the NFL. Joining us for our morning discussion is Gray Hardison of The Belly of the Beast, a Southeastern Conference-ish site in the Bloguin network.

Question: Should any conference get more than one bid in the College Football Playoff?

Gray Hardison:

On Twitter @BellyoftheBeast:

Even at the risk of producing another Alabama/LSU title game (or semi-final game) masterpiece of visual pain and suffering, I have no problem with two teams from the same conference getting selected. The playoff should always seek to field the “most deserving” teams in whatever way the committee chooses to define those words one week, redefine them the next, and change it again at the very end.

If two teams from the same conference match the final definition of most deserving, then ALABAMA/LSU AHOY. And at least that game gave us one of the most inept offensive plans of our time, which is still worth several Twitter jokes a year.

Now, if we end up with something like Wake Forest and Pitt, please direct me back to this moment so I can be reminded that, if there was any doubt, I am an idiot.

Bart Doan:

On Twitter @TheCoachBart

No, but with an asterisk. If the goal is to find the best college football team in the country, and you acknowledge that they can’t all play one another like in the NCAA basketball tournament, then you want to know who is the best, you’ve got to choose teams that are in different regions and give them a chance to play. Look at this past year. Everyone said Ohio State was gifted a shot in the playoff, and they won the darn thing, and without much on-field stress to be honest.

So the “we’re in a better conference” crap is moot. The only way you can determine who’s the best at anything is if everyone’s champ gets a piece at the table and you go from there. Ideally, however (and this is where the asterisk comes in), we find a way to have four super-conferences, cut down to only two out of conference games per season, one with a demanded Power 4 conference opponent … and we end up knowing more about the teams and getting the winners from four regions in a playoff.

But is college football that forward thinking and smart? I don’t know. I sort of doubt it, though.

Kevin Causey:

On Twitter @CFBZ

Speaking in general terms, no the College Football Playoff committee should not have two teams from the same conference playing in the final four. With five power conferences and four conference championship games among the P5, teams are earning their right to play in college football’s final four. If you can’t win your conference, then it’s really difficult to make a case for that team to be included.


I believe that the committee should be open-minded enough to consider two teams from one conference under special circumstances. For example, let’s say that (and I’m really going overboard here by not using the SEC as an example since I’m a SEC homer) Ohio State plays Michigan State early in the season (forth or fifth game) and loses in overtime by one point. Michigan State goes on to go undefeated and wins the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State goes on to win the rest of their games and clearly look like one of the top four teams in the country in doing so.

In that example, I would look at the rest of college football and if Michigan State and Ohio State are two of the best four teams in the country…then they should be in the final four. But at this point, I would have them play in the semi-finals guaranteeing a “new” national championship game.

I guess in hindsight, my answer to the question is “yes” conferences should be able to have more than one team in the final four. But, it should only be under special circumstances and should be the exception to the rule…not the rule.

Terry Johnson:

On Twitter @SectionTPJ

At the risk of sounding like a politician who will say anything to get elected, I will answer, “yes and no”.

But, unlike the aforementioned politician, I’ll elaborate.

As a general rule, I’d say that a league should not get more than one bid in the College Football Playoff. After all, one of the goals of the new system (and the BCS before it) was to create an exciting regular season in which “every game counts”. By allowing two teams from the same conference to meet again in the postseason, the Selection Committee is rendering the first meeting meaningless since only the winner of the second contest could capture the National Championship (see 2011-12 BCS Championship Game).

And, no, I am not picking on Alabama with that last remark. I’m sure Crimson Tide fans would have been equally outraged if Mississippi State had pulled off a similar upset over their team in the playoffs last year.

While I oppose a conference getting two bids as a general rule, I’m not prepared to rule out the possibility completely. As we’ve seen over the last five to ten years, crazy things can happen during the final week of the season. With an upset or two in the league title games, we could end up with a four-loss champ (like Florida State in 2005-06) or a five-loss champ (like Wisconsin in 2012-13) as the fourth highest rated conference champion. Should that happen (it didn’t in the instances I cited above), I’d be okay with the Selection Committee placing two teams from one conference in the bracket.

Until that happens (or Notre Dame goes undefeated), let’s make the field “conference champions” only.

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