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A UCF fan holds up a sign during the second half of the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game against Memphis, Saturday in Orlando, Fla. Central Florida fans want UCF to be in the national championship hunt.

In over 100 years, college football has still not figured out how to crown a national champion.

It used to be with national polls. Then we added computer points, and bowl games, and strength of schedule, and personalities, and reputations, and more polls. We added the Massey Ratings, the Sagarin Ratings, the SOS, the Associated Press poll, the USA Today coaches poll, and whatever created the Bowl Championship Series between 1998-2013.

In 2014, we got the College Football Playoff, which pits the "best" four teams against one another in an actual playoff. I was ecstatic the day they announced the championship of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) was actually going to be won on the field. The trouble is the 13-member committee has been too slow to expand the playoff from four teams to eight.

The selection committee already features athletic directors from one team in a Power Five conference, the Big 10, Big 12, Southeastern, Atlantic Coast and Pac-12. Why does the committee actively exclude the champion of one of those leagues every year? They're so powerful the NCAA gives them first dibs on making the rules of all other sports, but the CFP only wants to give four of them a chance to win a national championship.

The time has come to expand the field to eight teams. There will still be controversy to who gets picked in those top eight, don't worry. I'm sure everybody at Northwestern is upset it wasn't in the top eight even though it reached the title game of the Big 10, where Ohio State beat the Wildcats 45-24. Better showing than No. 7 Michigan had against the Buckeyes, mind you, but not exactly enough to move into the top eight.

Central Florida (12-0), which went undefeated again, deserves better than the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against LSU (9-3). Yes, it's a Jan. 1 bowl game that will have a big payout. Yes, it's in Glendale, Arizona. Lots of worse places to spend a few days in December. But wouldn't an eight-team playoff be a bit more fun? The CFP is already rotating the semifinals and finals between six major bowl games. How about we rotate between four of the major bowl games and, maybe, shorten the regular season by one game to 10 instead of 11, or 11 instead of 12. 

Who wouldn't watch Central Florida and Alabama in the first round? Michigan and Clemson? Notre Dame and Ohio State? Oklahoma and Georgia, in the battle of 'I got in and you didn't' that would be fantastic? And those would be the first-round games, folks. There's plenty of money to go around. Find a way to expand the playoff to eight teams. 

• Congrats to Deanna Price: Congratulations to former Saluki thrower Deanna Price, who was awarded the Wing Award from U.S. track and field for the best championship field performance of the year Saturday at an awards banquet in Columbus, Ohio.

Price, a future Hall of Famer at this school that made the 2016 Olympic team, had an outstanding year in the circle. She set the American hammer throw record twice- first with a toss of 77.65 meters in Rathdrum, Idaho, and then again with the fourth-best toss of all-time, 78.12m, to win the U.S. outdoor title. It was the second national title of the year for the Moscow Mills, Missouri native, who threw a personal-best 24.51m to win the U.S. indoor weight throw title. Price also won the hammer throw competition at the 2018 Continental Cup. 

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TODD HEFFERMAN covers SIU athletics for The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at, 618-351-5087 or on Twitter at @THefferman. 


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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