News Sports Opinion Photos Social Classified Obits Contact

CFP Numbers: It's March. Time for March Madness. But, the madness can wait.

I'm all about covering sports other than football in this column, especially after football season is done. But, allow me to do a little more football before diving back into the other springtime fare.

I heard a caller on the Paul Finebaum Show last week. He wasn't talking basketball either.

His topic is one that comes up frequently regardless of season; college football and playoff expansion.

Will the field expand from four to six or eight or more? Yes. Someday.

I think that's inevitable. But, will it change the outcome? Will we see a new crop of champions?

After seven years of the CFP, there have been the usual suspects year in and out. And, there hasn't been a diverse variety of champions either.

Only 11 teams have made the playoff in those seven years. Only four teams have won it all.

In comparison, there have been six different college basketball champions among the past seven winners. 22 different teams have made the NCAA Final 4 during the same stretch, double the number of football.

Every year, 130 college football teams have a shot at being among the four chosen ones. 130 teams have a chance (you're saying there's a chance) of winning a national championship.

Based on the numbers, the odds are not good for most of the 130. Changing from 4 to 8 or more is probably not going to change that much.

Let's do some quick math.

If everybody was even (and they're not), each team has about a 3 percent chance of making the playoff. They have a less than 1 percent chance of winning it. So you're saying there's a chance!

Alabama and Clemson have made the field 6 of 7 times. That's 86 percent of the CFP selections. Alabama has won 43 percent of the CFP titles (3 of 7).

Again 11 teams have made the CFP in its seven-year run. That's about 8 percent of the entire field. With just four programs winning all seven, that's about 3 percent of the entire field.

The statistics are really staggering. Although less than 10 percent of America has a shot of making the field and winning it, about a 10 percent segment makes it and wins it every year.

There really are about a handful of teams that have a chance at winning the trophy. They're the elite of the elite. The rest are the pretenders.

Expanding the playoff is not going to change that. Still, the argument remains from guys like Chris Fowler that teams like Cincinnati deserve their shot.

Give them their shot. Go ahead and do it. It's the age of "fairness." In the end, the outcomes will likely remain the same.

College Football Playoff (2014-20)

Playoff Qualifiers: 11

Most Appearances:
6 - Alabama, Clemson
4 - Ohio State, Oklahoma 2 - Notre Dame
1 - Florida State, Oregon, Michigan State, Washington, Georgia, LSU

Most by Conference:
8 - SEC, ACC: 8
5 - Big Ten
4 - Big 12
2 - Pac-12
*1 - Independent

*Notre Dame has reached the field as an independent and member of the ACC