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CFP National Championship Clemson Alabama Football

Clemson players celebrate after winning their second national title in three years. The Tigers and Alabama, the team they defeated Monday, have won the last four titles.

Clemson’s 44-16 demolition of Alabama in Monday’s College Football Playoff title game wrapped up another season, one that was mostly dominated by those two schools.

Both capped impressive four-year runs with identical 55-4 records and two national titles each. Throw out their four CFP matchups and each team was 53-2.

There’s little doubt those two programs are head and shoulders above the rest of the country.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean they are unbeatable — although it takes a great performance to do so — but it’s clear the Tide and Tigers are likely here to stay for a few more years.

And until the rest of the country is able to catch up, I see no reason to expand the playoffs from four teams.

And neither does the College Football Playoff Board of Managers, which on Monday said it is far too early to consider another expansion and to determine if that is even a possibility.

“It’s fair to say the speculation about expansion has outdistanced the reality of what the commissioners and the presidents have discussed,” chairman Mark Keenum said. “If a decision were to be made down the road, the presidents would be the ones to make it and we are not there.

“We have a 12-year contract we are very happy with. It is always appropriate to ask the right questions and to examine every issue to be sure we have things right. We are very satisfied with the playoff and look forward to its continued success.”

Sure, I understand the draw of wanting more playoff games. Personally, most of the bowl games outside of the semifinals and the title game or those on New Year’s Day — mostly because of the party we have with close friends — don’t interest me in the least.

If the playoffs had been expanded, I believe the same outcome would have happened the past four seasons, only there would be a few more teams in the “playoffs.”

I get that there is always a debate about the four teams that get in, although this season it was pretty evident the ones that “earned” the chance to play for the title.

Last year there was plenty of debate and I can understand how frustrated or upset fans of all teams not named Alabama were when the Crimson Tide were one of the four teams to make the field when they didn’t even win their division or play for their conference title.

But the point was to get the four “best” teams — using the formula they did — in the field. And it was pretty obvious that Alabama was one of those with its win over No. 1 Clemson and the overtime thriller over No. 3 Georgia in the title game.

Let’s say expansion does occur.

Would the formula be five automatic qualifiers — those who win the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 title games —along with three at-larges?

If so, what would be the criteria for those three teams?

Would Group of Five schools like Central Florida make the cut with the weaker schedules they typically play?

And, would all five conference champions really have earned the right to claim a berth?

What if, say, Utah had defeated Washington in that awful Pac-12 title game this season? Would the Utes, at 10-3, be better than say an 11-1 Michigan or a 9-3 LSU team or a 10-2 Washington State team?

I will admit, if the playoffs were expanded to eight for this past season we would have had (1) Alabama vs. (9) Washington; No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 7 Michigan; No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 Ohio State; and No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Georgia.

Fun matchups for sure.

But that would have also left No. 8 Central Florida on the outside looking in again.

There really is no perfect solution, and the argument over who is No. 4 or No. 5 just becomes who is No. 8 or No. 9.

The NCAA added four more teams to the men’s basketball tournament a few years back and guess what? Teams that get left out still feel robbed.

And, besides, do we really think the quarterfinals will be competitive as a whole?

If you say yes, well, out of the first 10 semifinals, only TWO have been decided by fewer than 11 points with five decided by 20 or more points. Also, five teams scored seven or fewer points in a loss.

That, to me, doesn’t spell expansion at this time.

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Steve Gress is the sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at steve.gress@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stevegress19.

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