New playoff creates excitement

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he newly minted College Football Playoff has been an improvement for college football not only in the season’s final weeks, but in the opening weeks as well.

The College Football Playoff, which began in 2015, signaled an end of the 15-year, computerized BCS experiment, which often left teams and fans without a clear and justified national champion at the end of the season.

The new, four-team playoff with teams elected by a committee, not computers, has brought drama and order back to the national championship race in college football.

Interestingly, the playoff has brought the first few weeks of the season into a previously unknown prominence in the last three seasons.

Because of the playoff system in effect today, the entire season’s body of work counts towards the rankings for the end of season tournament.

Under the BCS system, most teams eased their way into the season by playing two or three non-conference games against vastly inferior competition.

When bowl season arrived, these times were not penalized for doing this.

Football programs were generally afraid to schedule tough games early in the season because one bad loss would essentially kill their hopes for a championship.

This, in turn, would make it more difficult to sell tickets late in the season, if the team’s prospects for winning the championship were effectively gone.

The new playoff system ensures that all teams schedule a competitive slate of games throughout the entire season if they hope to make the final four at the end of the season.

While the NCAA’s movement towards games between “big-name” teams early in the season has been an improvement on the quality of play, it has also been great for television ratings, especially on Labor Day weekend.

This ability for college football to “own” Labor Day weekend is a huge opportunity.

It is the only week of their season where college football is not overshadowed by the NFL, which allows them to play games Sunday and Monday nights; nights which are exclusively owned by the NFL.

ABC’s Sept. 3 Saturday night broadcast of No. 1 University of Alabama against No. 20 University of Southern California had an audience of 7.9 million viewers.

The Sept. 4 Sunday night double overtime thriller between No. 9 Notre Dame and Texas had nearly 11 million viewers, according to sportsmediawatch.com

It makes sense that the NCAA schedules some of their best match-ups on a weekend where they have no market competition outside of pro-baseball, which is still more than a month away from their playoffs.

The College Football Playoff has made the entire season more entertaining by making the non-conference part of every team’s schedule more important.