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SHANE SHACKLEFORD: Musings About the College Football Playoff

The College Football Playoff, or the CFP for short, has been the source for jubilation, for frustration, and elation for that hardy sort of fan that follows college football. I am that sort of fan, and if you’re reading this article, I’d say you are too.

That’s why I am good with the national championship game pitting the top two SEC teams this year, those being Alabama and Georgia (sorry Auburn). They’re the two top squads in the country at the moment. They should be playing for all the marbles.

I also love the fact that this Jan. 8 game (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) will be played in the heart of SEC country; the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. There will most definitely be a deep south SEC flavor to the finals. Nice.

I further love the fact that the top four teams in the CFP deserve to be there. Clemson? Absolutely. The Tigers are defending national champions and played like it all year long except for a hiccup with Syracuse. Oklahoma? They proved they deserved the nod with a scintillating performance against the Dawgs in the Rose Bowl. Georgia? They deserved the right. They lost one game (to Auburn) and drilled them in their SEC Championship rematch. Alabama? Yes sir. Granted, they looked a little worse for wear at the end of the season. But they more than made up for that in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson. They’re healthy and they’re hungry.

So I’m more than happy with those four. They are the best four squads in college football. And their seasons proved it.

Ok, so I’m a little biased for the SEC. Sorry, just the way it is. I’m from the sticks and I love college football. Perfect marriage, right?

Those points being said, I think the CFP could use a little tinkering. Not a lot, but a little.

To be honest, I’m not real solid on the New Year’s Six setup. Here’s why. In the Peach Bowl, you had Auburn (who should be there) and an undefeated Central Florida team representing the Group of Five (deserved the nod for sure.) But here’s my problem. Central Florida won and remained undefeated. But because they weren’t in the Rose or Sugar Bowl, their season ended.

I’m not good with that. If we are really going to have a playoff, a true playoff, then all the games in that playoff have to matter. I think a logical solution is to have an eight-team playoff. The Bowls can be whatever the rotation is for hosting playoffs. That’s not important. The important thing is we have the top eight teams playing for a national championship.

I know what you’re thinking. What about the Group of Five (not Power Five) school? You keep them in the top eight. They deserve a chance to achieve the dream. Leave that alone.

Anyhow, adding four more teams means four bowl games overall, two (bowl) semifinals, and a championship game in the eight-team playoff. In all actuality only one more game is added to the season. I’m pretty sure those top eight squads would be fine adding one more game to have a chance to achieve their dreams.

Otherwise, I'm as happy as a pig in mud with this year’s CFP. I hope you are, too. You deserve to be happy.

Shane Shackleford is a columnist for Magazine and A Sea of Blue, and a contributing writer for the Harlan Daily Enterprise and Middlesboro Daily News. You can reach Shane via e-mail at, Facebook at Shane Shackleford or Twitter @shack_daddy_1.

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