Back in the day when a college football national champion was determined by the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) system, Bill Hancock, who was the chief administrator of the BCS then and is the head of the College Football Playoff structure now, and I got into a debate about the value of a 4-team playoff.

I was for it. He was against it, arguing that any playoff would devalue the regular season, which was the main artery for college football.

Hancock had been part of the NCAA structure as college basketball turned into basically a one month and one week season (March and a week in April) with the increased popularity of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a set of circumstances which continues today at a severe cost to the college basketball regular season (almost no one pays attention until early February).

When college football went to its four-team playoff format a few years ago, Hancock switched his argument, but was adamant that anything beyond four teams would severely damage the importance of the regular season.

As we approach November, which is when the chatter of the Final Four teams chosen by the CFB Playoff selection committee kicks it up several notches, the arguments about which teams deserve inclusion in this season’s semifinals at the Sugar and Rose Bowls will increase.

But the basic mathematical formula remains. Five conference champions and perhaps an independent such as Notre Dame, which is once again a player, can not be squeezed into four spots. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.