College football at the FBS level is unique among sports. With most sports, so much emphasis is placed on the postseason that the regular season gets marginalized. A bunch of losses, or even a long losing streak, during the regular season is no big deal, as it’s still possible to recover in time to make a playoff run, and possibly even win the championship. Not so in college football. Its regular season functions as an extended playoff season, with eliminations beginning at week one. Teams from the power conferences are generally eliminated from a chance at the title after a second loss. Teams from the other conferences are usually out after just one loss.
The pressure on teams to win every game is tremendous. Every week and every game is consequential. That’s the magic of college football. The season starts with each of the 128 FBS dreaming about the playoffs, but only four of them can get in. Each week of the regular season narrows the pool of playoff contenders down just a little bit more until the final four are announced the Sunday after the conference championships are played. Unlike most other sports, the college football playoffs are reserved only for the regular season’s very best. Mediocrity might get you a bowl bid, but never a pass to the playoffs.