1. College football playoffs do indeed exist!
Believe it or not, virtually every level of American football above junior high plays some sort of postseason after a regular season.
Long dominated by the bowl system and risk-averse university presidents, Division I (now FBS) college football managed to avoid a true playoff until a couple of decades ago, when the Bowl Alliance and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) systems went into place to determine a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup to determine the national champion.
A four-team College Football Playoff began play in 2014 and has been a spectacular success in terms of drumming up interest for which teams will be among the final four at season’s end. Next year, for the first time at the FBS level, 12 teams will get the chance to play in the postseason with a shot at the national title.
The FCS is no stranger to expanding a playoff. Since the 1978 split between Division I-AA and I-A, the Division I-AA playoffs have grown from four to eight, to 12, to 16, to 20, and finally 24 teams (the current number) by a decade ago.
The current format works well for the FCS, as 16 teams play in the first round and the top eight teams receive a first-round bye and further home-field advantage as a reward for a successful regular season. As a key concept, the playoffs incentivize regular-season wins and rankings, making the games in September and October still vitally important to set up a playoff run in December and January.
The true strength of the FCS playoffs (unlike at the FBS level) is that every team begins the season knowing that they will have a chance to play for a title. The system also puts the nation’s 24 best teams in a bracket and lets them decide on the field who is the best.