In the first seven years of the College Football Playoff, four teams have gobbled up 17 of the 28 available spots: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. After a crazy rivalry week, the sport is close to having a playoff featuring none of the above.
For years, critics of the four-team payoff have argued that expanding the field will be good for the game and get more programs involved. Instead, football’s middle class decided to rise up and defeat the programs that have lorded over the sport since the playoff era started in 2014.
No. 10 Oklahoma was edged by No. 7 Oklahoma State in its first Bedlam loss since 2014 and just third since Mike Gundy took over the Cowboys in 2005. Not to be outdone, No. 2 Ohio State physically collapsed against No. 5 Michigan for its first loss in The Game since 2011. No. 3 Alabama survived — barely — against rival Auburn, but is limping at best and prepares to walk into the wood chipper that is No. 1 Georgia.
Right now, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm projects No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Cincinnati and No. 4 Oklahoma State as the likely playoff field. The Wolverines boast the most recent crown, a split national championship in 1997 that ushered in the BCS. Georgia comes next with a title in 1980. Oklahoma State claims a dubious (sorry, Pokes) Sagarin ratings national championship in 1945, while Cincinnati has no title — or even top-five finish — to claim.
Point is, some fanbase is about to be historically happy. And when that happens, seeing some new blood compete and win at the sport’s highest level is only going to show why expanding the playoff field is a no-brainer.
Few, if any, would have expected teams that rank No. 15, No. 47 and No. 54 in 247Sports Talent Composite to have beaten…