Is there bias in the College Football Playoff Committee?

College Football Playoff logo

College Football Playoff logo

Quinton Coats, Reporter


The College football playoff committee is notorious for favoring certain schools and conferences. With the upcoming CFB playoff in the near future, 6 schools are patiently waiting to see their name in the top four. One school is a lock, the rest are win and you’re in. Looking at the past 8 years of the CFB playoff, it is clear that the committee favors Power 5 conferences, and respectively they do so as they have the hardest strength of schedule.


Looking at the schools that still have a chance at the playoff, four of the teams are a part of a Power 5 conference. Those teams are Georgia (SEC), Michigan (Big Ten), Alabama (SEC), and Oklahoma State (Big 12). The other two teams are not in Power 5 conferences making them outliers. Notre Dame is a FBS independent which means they don’t have an affiliation to any conference which means they have more freedom in their scheduling. Notre Dame has been in the playoff before which makes them more credible. The other team that is not a member of a Power 5 conference is Cincinnati. Sitting at 12-0 heading into championship Saturday, the Bearcats are a wild card when it comes to the playoff. If they get in, it will be the first time a team outside of a Power 5 conference gets into the playoff. 


Bias in the past: Fellow students and staff members were asked about the bias, many of the answers correlated. 


Which team has gotten the most benefit from the CFP Committee in the past 8 year?

Gavin Blachowicz: “Alabama”

Ty Klarkowski: “Alabama”

Coach Jeff Gourley: “Ohio State”

Athletic Trainer Cooper Sax: “Any team in the SEC”


The answers from the aforementioned students and staff members show that Alabama has been favored the most. Alabama has been to the playoff 6 times winning it 3 of those times. According to the CFP Committee, the 4 main criteria of the playoff are championships won, strength of schedule, head to head competition (if it occurred), and comparative outcomes of common opponents. Looking back at Alabama’s years they made the playoffs, all 4 of those boxes are checked so there isn’t much bias towards Alabama, They’re just a flat out good football team. There was one season where the committee showed a bit of bias. During the 2016 season, Ohio State went 11-1 only losing to unranked opponent Penn State. With this loss, the Buckeyes were no longer eligible to represent the east division of the Big Ten in the conference championship. This sparked controversy throughout the college football playoff world as the main criteria for making the playoff is winning your conference championship. 


Another case of bias towards Ohio State was in 2014, the first year of the playoffs. Heading into the last week of CFP rankings, Ohio State was ranked 6th in the CFP poll. The top four were 1.) Alabama 2.) Oregon 3.) Texas Christian 4.) Florida State. With all teams winning their last games respectively, experts and fans thought that those 4 teams were locks. When the new rankings were announced, people were shocked to see TCU drop out and Ohio State fill their place. Ohio State would go on to win the first College Football Playoff later that season. 


Looking back at the last 8 seasons of college football, there have been small cases of bias here and there with certain schools but no clear bias. A clear explanation to the same teams getting in every year is that those schools are just better than everyone else. This year’s College Football Playoff could showcase the first G5 and the first 11-2 team. It will be interesting to see what the committee will do come December 7.