New Four Team Playoff Improves Terps’ National Championship Chances

June 26, 2012 | Andrew Tomlinson

College football fans had their prayers answered when the new four team playoff system was announced Monday and University of Maryland Terrapins fans should be even more excited, as the playoff helps increase their team’s shot at a National Title.

When people talk about the football playoff system, many think about how it will give the Boise State’s and Houston’s of the world a shot at actually making it to the National Championship game. The truth is though, it could help schools in the smaller major conferences just as much. It gives teams in the ACC and Big East a chance to have a shot at earning their own title, despite having a hard time breaking into the elusive top-two in the polls.

The Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC are viewed as superior conferences compared to the Big East and ACC and that perception isn’t going to change. Whether it is true or not, the general belief in college football is the schedules of the other conferences are just harder than that of the ACC. While the the big four conferences have their fare share of teams like Indiana, Washington, Kentucky and Kansas, many think the ACC is too saturated with teams like Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Boston College and Wake Forest. It causes ACC team’s to suffer in the BCS rankings, as well as in the AP and USA Today polls.

What this playoff sets up for a school like Maryland though, is a scenario that sees them go undefeated or only suffer one loss and, despite having the same record as one of the more powerful conferences, still have a shot at the title. In the past, a team from one of the power conferences would get the nod over Maryland, simply because of strength of schedule. Now though, the bigger conference teams may still get the higher votes, but it could still leave Maryland in the important top-four and with a shot at the championship game.

People will always moan about who is chosen to play in the games, but no matter what someone will be upset when only four teams make the playoff. What this system does is level the playing field for a football program, like the Terps’, to not be knocked out of the running for a championship simply because they play in a conference many believe is weaker.

Is it a perfect system? Not by any means, but what it is progress, something college football hasn’t made in a long time.

This system doesn’t take effect until 2014, which could be the first year Maryland has a real shot at challenging the big boys if all goes according to Randy Edsall’s plan. They are still going to have to work for it and will still most likely have to go unbeaten to even smell one of the four spots, but this system does give the Terps an advantage it didn’t have before.