If you've read anything by me in other college sports forums -- and if you haven't, how you found my blog is something of a mystery -- you know I'm an unabashed playoff advocate, and favor a sixteen team playoff. However, there are still professional college football comentators, and even fan blogs, that dislike the idea of playoffs. I'm going to attempt to show that they're wrong.
1. Playoffs (especially with sixteen or more teams) would result in college students playing too many games.
In theory, a college team could play as many as eighteen games if a sixteen-team tournament replaced the regular season and the regular season was unchanged -- twelve regular season games, a game at Hawaii, a conference championship game, and four playoff games. That's not very likely, if only because no one in a conference that plays a championship game is going to schedule a game at Hawaii. But even if it happened...
High school teams play sixteen games in many states if they reach the state finals.
I-AA/FCS teams play sixteen games if the reach the NCAA Championship, as do some lower-division teams.
NFL teams can play up to 25 games (up to 5 preseason games, 16 regular season games, and up to 4 playoff games).
So players younger than I-A/FBS players can handle sixteen games, players older than I-A FBS players can handle at least twenty games, and players the same age but less skilled can handle sixteen games. So I think I-A/FBS players can manage sixteen or seventeen games (or even eighteen, in the unlikely scenario outlined above).
2. Playoffs would make football a two-semester sport.
Not unless you tried to placate the bowls by starting the playoffs after the bowl games. If you started the playoffs a week or two after the conference championship games and played every week, they'd be done by the second weekend in January, before almost all colleges start their spring semester or winter trimester.
3. Playoffs would destroy the history and tradition of the bowls.
That ship has sailed. The Big Ten champion has played the Pac 10 champion in the Rose Bowl once in the BCS era (the upcoming Penn State/USC game will make it twice). The Cotton Bowl has become a decidedly second-tier game. Many bowls have dropped their traditional name and strictly go by the name of their sponsor. There's no history or tradition left with the bowls; it's long gone already.
4. Playoffs would just replace arguments over who's #2 with arguments over who's number 4/8/16...
In a world where there's often no meaningful difference among the top 3-8 teams, we call that progress. The last team out of the NCAA basketball tournament -- which has been my Orange in recent years -- isn't the #65 team; they're usually a lot better than many of the low-major champions. But they're usually not a serious threat to win the title, either. Granted, a four team playoff or an eight team playoff with autobids for the BCS 6 champs would sometimes leave out serious threats to win the title, but it would leave out fewer serious contenders than the current system.
5. Playoffs (with eight or more teams) would make it possible for an undeserving team to make a run at the title, like the 2007 New York Giants.
That's not a bug, that's a feature. Upsets and unlikely runs are fun to watch. And considering the gauntlet a lower-seeded team would have to survive in order to win the title, I don't think you could consider anyone who won an eight or sixteen team football tournament undeserving. Besides, this is college football, not pro football or baseball; there are large talent differences between teams, and home field advantage (which will certainly exist in an 8+ team playoff, at least for the first round) is huge.
6. Playoffs are impossible to implement in the real world.
That's not an argument against playoffs, that's an implementation detail.