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Brad Edwards: 16 CFP semifinals have provided 2 classics, not much else
Travis Etienne (9) scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of Clemson's 29-23 Fiesta Bowl victory over Ohio State in 2019. The win put the Tigers in the CFP national championship game. (Credit: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

Brad Edwards: 16 CFP semifinals have provided 2 classics, not much else

(BVM) — As we enter the ninth set of College Football Playoff semifinals, let’s take stock of what the Playoff has given us that the BCS didn’t.

The answer: not much.

Certainly, it hasn’t provided a lot in the way of entertainment, which is the focus of this article. But before going there, it should be pointed out that the four-team model has assuredly given us a few national champions that wouldn’t have hoisted the trophy in the two-team model.

We can’t assume that the selection committee’s top two seeds would’ve always been the national championship matchup if the BCS had still been in existence, but it seems obvious that neither of the No. 4 seeds to win the title (Ohio State in the 2014 season and Alabama in the 2017 season) would’ve had hope in the previous system. And even looking back to last year, it’s unlikely Georgia would’ve gotten a second chance at Bama in the BCS setup.

So, we can’t say that the Playoff has contributed nothing. On top of the aforementioned impact on national champions, it’s also served as a bridge to the upcoming 12-team model, which is definitely something (like it or not).

But when it comes to delivering entertaining semifinal games to the nation, the Playoff has been a flop. Only three of the 16 semifinal games have been decided by 10 points or fewer, which is astounding when you consider that those games are all supposed to be matchups of the nation’s four best teams.

Of course, a few more of those games were expected to be competitive, but maybe not as many as you’d think. According to Vegas Insider, 10 of the 16 had a point spread greater than a touchdown. And after a few surprises in the early years of the Playoff, only one of the last 10 semifinals has been won by the underdog.

In other words, predictably lopsided games have been the norm through the first eight years of college football’s Round of 4.

Want further proof? Here are the five best semifinal games.


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