Hey Pioneer League, time to celebrate! You’ve just won a guaranteed all-expense not paid trip to the FCS PLAYOFFS! You’ll stay in the luxurious Airport Holiday Inn Express where you’ll enjoy a free continental breakfast featuring all-you-can-eat muffins and Cheerios. Afterwards you’ll be treated to a short bus ride to the game, followed 4 horrifying hours later by a long flight home and possibly 3-4 months of intense physical therapy. CONGRATS GUYS! You’ve earned it!
Yup, the playoffs are EXPANDING from 20 to 24, thanks in part to none other than our own AD Charlie Cobb. When he’s not busy reading conference realignment hate mail, he enjoys his work as chairman of the Division I Football Championship Committee. Now the Pioneer League will get an auto-bid and there will be 3 more at-large teams.
In all seriousness, it looks like they got it right. A lot of good coaching staffs and football players work hard all season and more of them, and their fans, should get the chance to enjoy the playoff experience. The Pioneer League will likely never win a national championship, but the winner of that conference deserves a shot at least. It gives them something to play for. Also with 3 new at-large spots, it further minimizes the chance of App State ever sitting at home during the playoffs. That can’t be a bad thing. In addition, the new system seeds the top-8 teams of just 4, giving App State an even better shot at a seed.
Certainly at some point all of this expansion diminishes the accomplishment of making the playoffs. But with 124 FCS teams and only 24 of them getting in, I don’t think we have reached that point yet.