College Football is the greatest sport in the world, but there is one thing that it really lacks: Parity. There are 134 FBS teams in college football across ten different conferences. Anyone who follows the sport knows that there are a few teams and a couple of conferences that dominate the game, but the stats I’m about to throw out may shock you.
College Football Teams Being Ranked Number One
Guess how many college football teams have been ranked number one since the start of the 2016 season? If you guessed 20, you may be thinking that is a good guess. If you guessed 10, that may sound crazy but realistic, after all, it’s been eight years and we all know Bama and Georgia have been really good. You’d be wrong again.
The answer is five. Yes, only five. Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, and LSU are the only teams who have been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll since the start of the 2016 season.
Five teams in seven seasons or 116 weekly polls. Again, there are 134 teams in college football. Only 3.7% of them have been No. 1 at some point.
The 43 current FBS teams that have been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll for at least a week. How long has it been? pic.twitter.com/FW8KLEQ8Jm
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB) January 15, 2024
Also worth noting, since the start of the century, only 17 teams have been ranked number one. 17 teams in 23 years out of 134. Let that sink in for a minute.
College Football Playoff Teams
The College Football Playoff began in the 2014 season, meaning there have been ten playoffs, or 40 team slots for teams to fill. There have only been 14 individual teams making the playoffs. 14 out of 134 or 11% of college football has got to participate to this point.
Looking at conferences, here is the breakdown:
ACC: Clemson, Florida State
Big 12: Oklahoma, TCU, Texas
Big 10: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State
Pac 12: Oregon, Washington
SEC: Alabama, Georgia, LSU
Independent: Notre Dame
There have been no teams from the CUSA, Sun Belt, Mountain West, or MAC represented in the CFP in its ten years of existence. Additionally, only nine different teams have advanced to the Championship Game, and only six different teams have won.
As far as conferences go, the SEC has won six championships, the ACC has won two, and the Big 10 has won two. No other conference even has one championship.
A Need for Division
The point of sports is to win. Throw out any other cliche you want about teamwork, or having fun, but the ultimate reason for playing is to win. NIL donors and boosters aren’t raking out millions of dollars so that their team can have fun. If that was the point, all that money would be going to kids in the Boys and Girls club as that would be a much better group to give money to for the sole purpose of fun. The fact that there are 62 G5 teams and only one of them has a National Championship (Army) suggests that maybe it is time for an official split up.
Why are we pretending that all 134 teams have a pathway to the National Championship? There is only going to be one team represented every year in the 12-team Playoff out of the 62 G5 teams. That’s not very fun for them. The SEC and Big 10 are going to be eating up 6-8 of the bids every year leaving the rest of college football scrambling for the final 4-6 spots.
It’s time for a split. Let the G5 teams have their shot at a National Championship. Give the top two teams in every P4 conference an auto-bid to the Playoff and then have four at-large spots.
There needs to be more parity in college football. There is no other sport that has less parity and opportunity than the current setup of FBS college football.
Don’t get me wrong, college football is the greatest sport on earth. But with the transfer portal already starting to form farming teams for bigger schools, it really is time for a split. If players at Boise State, UAB, or Western Michigan feel like they’ve got a chance to play for a National Championship, perhaps they won’t be as quick to transfer to a bigger school.
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