No sooner than the announcement of the four teams that will participate in the College Football Playoff and fans across the country were screaming for an expanded field.
The inaugural Division I-A playoff has not been completed, and folks are decrying that the four-team format does not work.
First, the selection process was successful.
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More importantl an expanded field will only extend the controversy of which teams got left out from the fifth- and sixth-ranked teams to the ninth- and 10th-ranked teams. Expanding will not improve a thing.
Further, there are not eight teams annually that are serious contenders for the national championship. This season, the regular season whittled the field from 128 teams in August to six contenders for the final four spots in December.
You are not watching closely enough if you believe any team beyond the top six in the final College Football Playoff rankings could have won the national title.
Just like with the defunct BCS, which worked perfectly most seasons, the College Football Playoff accomplished its objective: To determine the four best teams in the country to compete for the national championship.
Alabama, Florida State, Oregon and Ohio State are in the field. They are the four best teams, according to the College Football Playoff committee. Most fans who watched with a discerning eye would agree.
The Big 12 Conference got the short end of things when both Baylor and TCU were left out, despite impressive one-loss resumes. But the fact is at least one conference is not going to be represented in the playoffs each year. Credit the Big 12 and the Baylor and TCU athletics departments for not putting up too much of a fuss over being omitted.
Had the playoff field included eight teams this year, there likely would have been a doozy of an argument over the final team in the field.
Let's suppose an eight-team playoff would have included the champion from each of the Power Five conferences, the highest-ranked team from a non-Power Five conference, and two at-large selections. Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State and Baylor (since the Bears defeated TCU) would have gained automatic bids, along with Boise State from the Mountain West Conference.
According to the final CFP rankings, TCU and Mississippi State would have received the two at-large bids. Michigan State, with the same final 10-2 record at Mississippi State, would have had a strong argument for being unjustly omitted from the playoff.
For no apparent reason, Mississippi State jumped Michigan State in the final week for the No. 8 ranking by the CFP committee. The anti-SEC crowd, which encompasses most of the country aside from the SEC, would have claimed that, indeed, a bias exists in favor of football's most powerful conference.
So, be thankful for the four-team playoff, a system that worked this season and likely will work into the foreseeable future. Sure, the system needs to be tweaked, although neither of my suggested changes will occur.
First, the semifinal games should be played on home fields. Playing on home fields in the opening round would greatly reward the top two seeds, and would allow hometown fans and students to better watch their teams play in the postseason.
As it is now, the opening-round games will be played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.,on Jan. 1. That means Florida State fans will have had to follow their team to Charlotte for the ACC championship game, then to California for the opening round, and perhaps to Dallas for the national title game.
The other change should be to eliminate the weekly rankings by the CFP committee. Release the final rankings only, as the college basketball NCAA tournament selection committee does each March.
By eliminating the weekly ratings, the committee would not have to explain how TCU dropped from No. 3 to No. 6 the final week of the season despite rolling up a 55-3 victory against Iowa State.
That change will not happen, because the weekly rankings were established so ESPN could have TV programming every Tuesday evening. Of course, home fields in the opening round will not occur, either, because the games have become TV shows with little concern for fans involved and their travel.
In the end, if you think TV's influence is over the top with a four-team playoff, wait until the networks order the NCAA to hold an eight-team playoff.