“It is the greatest regular season in sports. But, sadly it has the worst post season”
* Tim Brando at halftime of the SEC Championship game just minutes after UCLA upset USC. Clueless.
What Tim Brando and others can’t seem to grasp is that the nature of the one game National Championship is what makes college football’s regular season so wonderful!.
Think about it and stop falling for all of the cliches.
It JUST unfolded in front of Brando and the whole country! The classic USC-UCLA game had JUST FINISHED. If collge football had an 8 team playoff that game would have meant absolutely nothing. Nothing. Nobody outside of California would have cared about it and the result wouldn’t have mattered at all – USC would be playing in an 8 team playoff regardless of the outcome.
Additionally, ‘it’ was also in the process of unfolding in the very game that Brando was helping broadcast. I hate to break it to Brando, but if the BCS was decided by a playoff then most of us would have not been watching Brando’s broadcast of Florida vs Arkansas. What would it have mattered? Florida would have been in the playoff regardless of the outcome of the game. Instead, we are all watching and wondering if the Gators can hold on and potentially surpass Michigan for a shot at Ohio State.
(Sidebar: if Arkansas wins this game then SEC could potentially claim 4 of the top 8 teams in the country – Arkansas, LSU, Florida and Auburn. Please tell me how you are going to sell an idea to all of the conferences in the country that would mean their conference champion would not have a guaranteed slot in the ‘tournament’?)
Every year I hear about the need for a playoff…and every year fans start their bitching before the end of the regular season fixes almost every fabricated controversy. If everyone would step back they would realize that college football’s regular season IS a playoff! And this regular season is what makes the sport so wonderful!!!
If college football had any kind of playoff, then none of the great games that were played on Saturday would have meant much of anything. But, at least these game would have been played because they were all conference games; most of the best games of the year would fall off of future schedules because teams would not want to risk padding their record on the kind of games that us fans actually enjoy.
If college football had a four team or eight team or sixteen team playoff – massive controversy would exist as to which teams deserve to be in the top four or eight or sixteen. (Although I’m sure some fans would try to find a way to propose a playoff to get into the playoffs as a solution). It is never going to change. What’s the big difference between cutting off the ‘playoff’ at two teams instead of four or eight or sixteen?
Throughout the entire history of college football there have been times when two teams could lay claim to deserving a shot at a national championship after the regular season.
Throughout the entire history of college football there have been a few times when three teams could lay claim to deserving a shot at a national championship after the regular season.
Throughout the entire history of college football there have been very few times when four teams could lay claim to deserving a shot at a national championship after the regular season. This year ends up no different.
Regardless of the fact that almost NEVER are there four (or eight, or sixteen) teams that deserve a shot of playing for a national championship after a brutal regular season…every year we hear calls for the need of a logistically impractical playoff system.
I’d love to hear your proposed eight teams that deserve to be in your hypothetical playoff field. (Can’t wait to see all of the different sets of eight that are supposed to reduce our controversy). Question – are you going to include Wake Forest? what about the winner of Oklahoma/Nebraska? Yes? No?
If you DON’T select the champion of each conference, please tell me how you are going to get each conference to agree to a playoff in which they have no guaranteed participation each year?
If you DO select the champion of each conference, please tell me how you can you look at me in the eyes and tell me that you are choosing the “eight best teams” to “decide it on the field”? Can’t do it.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said last month:
“You’ve got a number of very good (ACC football) teams, without having a team that is a national title contender. We lost 51 players (from 2005) to the NFL, so we thought this would be a transitional year. That said, we have some teams with chances to close out strongly. The fact they’re not the teams people expect to see at the top shouldn’t take away from the success they’re having.
Dream with me for a moment that NC State was Wake Forest and won today’s ACC Championship. Without guaranteeing that the ACC had a seat at the playoff table then NC State would not have made your proposed playoff. How f*ing IRATE would you be that NC State finally got to the ACC summit only to be relegated outside of the top tier of recognition available for such a wonderful season?
It is already hard enough to compete against the Top 15 national programs in general. (Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, half the SEC, USC, etc). Putting together a playoff does nothing but make these programs more powerful as it decreases the importance of conference championships and forces everyone to try to break into the playoffs on a unilateral, national comparison. Try breaking through to the national playoffs without a guaranteed spot for conferences. Tell me again how a playoff is “for the fans”.
My parting shot is an article from The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes from February 14, 2005. I saved it for almost two years for use at the right time.
Football is fine minus the Madness
Maybe you’ve seen this already. I stumbled upon it while taking a break from digging trenches in the back yard, which explains how I spend my eight dreary months without college football. Apparently, our shameless friends at ESPN have figured out another way to overexpose a good thing. This time it’s the basketball version of College GameDay, a spinoff of the wildly popular football College GameDay.
Two quick thoughts: 1) Any college production without the dimwitted yet delicious rantings of Lee Corso blows; 2) the show reinforces my belief that in college football’s most polarizing argument, I’m right: The current system — no matter how convoluted and contrived — beats the hell out of a national playoff.
We can break down the numerous reasons why, but only one matters. A national playoff would render the regular season — and eventually the sport itself — meaningless. Ladies and gentlemen, for Exhibit A, I give you basketball College GameDay.
Digger Phelps is yapping about a “huge” Big East test for Syracuse and about how Notre Dame guard Chris Thomas is the type of player who can take over a game and carry a team on his shoulders. You know, all that cliched coachspeak.
Another talking head shouts, “It doesn’t get much bigger than this!”
Big, huh? Syracuse beat Notre Dame by nine a month earlier. Syracuse and Notre Dame could play again in the league tournament. And if things really get wacky, the two could play again in the NCAA Tournament. That’s four games between two teams in one season — each of which could have little bearing on the national championship.
Meanwhile, every week of the college football season is a national playoff. Every game is live or die; every game-changing play or mistake is replayed over and over. Every time a team steps on the field, its season can end. When Notre Dame limped off the Carrier Dome’s court with another loss to Syracuse, it was just that — another loss. Goals still were intact, the ultimate prize still attainable.
College football is about surviving and sustaining a body of work throughout a season; college basketball is about getting hot at the right time and running the table (see: N.C. State, Villanova, Kansas). What does college basketball have other than a tournament? Judged on its regular season, the sport would rate somewhere alongside reruns of championship poker. College football, meanwhile, never has been more popular — even without a tournament.
We can drone on about how the BCS is unfair (of course it is) and how three unbeaten teams can’t fit into two championship slots (so what). But what do we really want? We are a society of winning and losing; it’s just that simple. That’s the beauty of college football, the sport that forces each team to control its destiny — win or go home — from the first play of the season.
In a couple of months, the BCS honchos will get together again to further discuss the state of the controversial series and devise this year’s changes. One tweak could include a poll of selected writers and broadcasters to replace the AP poll (going to happen) or a selection committee to choose the two teams for the national title game (not going to happen).
They’ll dress it up nice and present it again, and everyone will carp and complain for the next four months. Hey, it’s better than digging ditches.