The Inanity of College Football
Like many Americans, I spent Saturday afternoon watching Michigan-Ohio State. Even though I did not attend Michigan, I have rooted for the school's sports teams ever since I was little. (Several relatives are alums.) Needless to say, I was disappointed with the outcome and am still bitter about the (at best) marginal roughing call that was made on Troy Smith late in the 4th Quarter. Had that call not been made, the result may well have been different, and it was--as indicated--a very marginal call in a sport (in both the college and pros) in which refs are too frequently calling roughing. Football is a contact sport, and I could opine more on this, but that is a subject for another day. Today I will join the list of bemoaning the stupidity of determining a national champion in this sport.
1. Division I-A college football is the only NCAA sport without a playoff structure. Not only does every other college sport have it, but so too do Division I-AA, Division II, and Division III football. The academic argument (that college football players can't keep playing games in December) is complete hogwash.
2. That The Ohio State University and possibly Michigan have 50 days off before the BCS Championship is itself ridiculous. Imagine taking 7 weeks off between the Final 4 and the NCAA basketball championship game. Or even worse, imagine 7 weeks off between the end of the conference tourneys in which a computer selected the 2 teams that would meet in the finals.
3. Here's my proposal, which I have made for years. An 8 team playoff with the winners of the following conferences automatically qualifying (in parentheses who would be in this year and their BCS ranking):
1. Big 10 (Ohio State, 1)
2. SEC (winner of Florida, 4 vs. Arkansas, 6)
3. Pac 10 (USC, 3)
4. Big 12 (winner of Texas, 13, or Oklahoma, 15 vs. Nebraska, 22)
5. ACC (winner of BC, 21, Maryland, NR, or Wake Forest, 18 vs. Georgia Tech, 16)
6. Big East (West Virginia, 7, Rutgers, 14, or Louisville, 9)
Of the top 10 teams, the only ones not in this list are Notre Dame #5 and an independent, Wisconsin #8 who finished third in the Big 10, and LSU #10, who will finish behind Arkansas in the SEC. And this system has 2 at large bids to ensure that worthy teams are not overlooked. Of course, arguments would ensure, but I much prefer it being about which team is actually #8 than which one is #2!
Yet the all powerful bowls will continue to fight tooth and nail against anything that will actually produce a real national champion. The minor bowl games are already irrelevant to the nation at large, and I do not see how a real playoff will diminish interest in them. And nothing would stop using the current major bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar) as sites for some or all of the 7 games that would be required under the proposed system. Heck, under the current +1 scenario, the championship game is not even a bowl game although it is played in the same location as one of the major bowls.
Each time college football produces a faux national champion, I hope reform will occur, but even with the changes that have been made over the past decade, the system still stinks.