No one is talking about the CFP rankings, because the system works

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This year’s relatively mundane College Football Playoff rankings may be lost amid the Big Ten’s sign-stealing scandal, but fans should cherish this status quo now, because it’s going to get extremely stupid in 2024. Instead of picking the best four teams from five power conferences, the committee will have to pick 12 from four power conferences, with the most viable candidates facing four to five real tests before the elimination games even start.

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Take this year’s standings: There’s not a two-loss program until the 12th-ranked school. That’ll change over the next month, but deciphering the best dozen is manageable because it’s not a transitive house of cards. The regular season schedules are filled with pushovers and chalks, so the bluebloods are able to hover above the rest, and decide the title picture by Thanksgiving.

This sounds weird and un-American to say: Maybe we should first play a season with conference realignment before deciding if the 12-team format is needed.

While the BCS and the four-team CFP aren’t/weren’t perfect formats, it’s hard to argue against their effectiveness. Parity rarely exists in college football because the best programs are so far ahead of everybody else. Six to eight universities trade spots every year, and there are so few egregious snubs that anything more than a field of eight is an overcorrection.

The Big Ten and the SEC will be so beat up this time next year, 24 teams will have records worthy of an argument. There will be so much bitching about the standings that Jim Harbaugh could kidnap Ryan Day and nobody would say a word. What’s the over/under for undefeated teams in Week 11 next season? Three? Four?

Have you looked at the Big Ten schedule next year? How about the SEC? It’s comical.

This isn’t an injection of equality; it’s anarchy. While I personally don’t mind because this is the only way my team has a shot at making a playoff, the current format is working. Yeah, it’s held together with duct tape, spit, and hubris, but it’s working.

Twelve teams will be pure chaos. How long before a three- to four-loss school sues the NCAA for getting left out? This is football. The field is as big as it’s going to get, with the big boys slated to knock each other around all season, so the answer can’t be more expansion. That would be criminal (which is to say, don’t put it past them).

This year’s standings aren’t going to translate because 2024 will be f*cked according to traditional metrics. Usually, the pursuit of a title ends when a program loses its second game. That was the agreed-upon threshold, and it only had to bend on occasion.

Maybe it’ll hold true for the Big 12 and ACC’s top teams, whoever they may be, but say one of those schools loses two games with an objectively easier schedule. Will they be afforded the same leeway as a two- or even three-loss SEC or B1G team?

I’ve posed 15 million unanswerable questions, all of which the goons over at the NCAA have no idea how to address, if they’ve thought about them at all. I can’t wait until coaches spend more time making their case on ESPN than in the locker room.

Picking a 12-team bracket will come down to public perception, with people citing intangibles, and recruiting rankings as justification for a golden ticket. Untapped potential and undefined auras aren’t concrete, and thus can’t be measured.

The NCAA has a mystifying ability to take something that’s working — be it college football or March Madness — break it in the name of revenue growth, and twist it until it’s an ATM. I’m afraid of what awaits college football fans in 2024. Not because it’s unknown; because we know exactly what’s in store, and it’s all kinds of dumb.

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