In sports as in life, we live in a world of knee-jerk reactions. The world moves so fast that we often fail to fully understand the magnitude of our choices. Dedicated, devoted and even casual football fans routinely desire to see a playoff system implemented in our sport. But there is much debate as to exactly what type of arrangement would fit in college football.
In regards to the NCAA Football National Championship, people repeatedly forget the purpose of crowning a winner. College Football is unique in their attempts to determine who their best team is. They aren’t trying to anoint a postseason champion. College Football, above every other sport, understands the true point of a championship. Year in and year out, they consistently award the championship to the best team in their sport. The same can’t be said about the NFL, MLB, NBA or even College Basketball.
The greatest myth in any sport is that there is a perfect system for awarding a championship. The truth is, a perfect system doesn’t exist. If we could all come to grips with this tiny bit of reality, we’d have an even greater appreciation for just how fun and exceptional college football is.Has the BCS ever really gotten it wrong?
Since the BCS’s inception, the team that’s won the National Championship has had my vote for the best team in the land. It’s hard to argue for a playoff when the teams who have finished the season #1 have been pretty well undisputed. You’ll often hear the same, tired argument when the pro-playoff crowd wants their voices heard. But Boise State deserves a chance!…How do you know Cincinnati’s not the best team in the country? TCU is better than Texas, etc… If anyone truly believed that Boise State, Cincinnati or TCU was better than Florida, Texas or Alabama this past year, it’s time to turn in your fan card. You’re license has been revoked.
If the #1 team is clearly in the BCS game, there is no need to play more.
The BCS gives every regular season week a playoff atmosphere because you force yourself to win. The pro-playoff crowd will tell you that a playoff would end all the debate about who the National Champion is. But even if you go to a 4 team playoff, the #5 team complains, in an 8 team playoff the #9 team complains etc. Where does it stop? Every system has it’s detractors because there is no perfect system.
Let’s take a look at the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The bubble teams who don’t make it in always gripe and complain about how unfair it is that they were left out. Yet does anyone really think a team that finished 19-11 has a legitimate reason for being given an opportunity to win the National Championship? And where does it end? 64 teams quickly turned into 65, then 68, and there’s currently talk of letting 96 teams into the tournament. This past year, Kansas vs. Kentucky was the match-up most of us wanted to see, yet we were robbed of that because of a silly post-season format. Yes the NCAA Basketball tournament is fun to watch, and yes it’s fun to fill out your bracket each year, but that doesn’t mean it’s without it’s flaws.
At this point, a football playoff would only incite more debate. The popular consensus is that the BCS system is unfair. But in a playoff scenario, if you allowed a 2 or 3 loss team a chance to beat an undefeated team, wouldn’t that also be unfair?
One of the major myths about a playoff system is that it works well in every other sport.
It works “well” because it’s the accepted system. A playoff only rewards teams who get hot at the right time. In MLB, of the last 8 World Series, 7 of the 16 teams have been Wild Card teams. Wild Card teams. The regular season is completely irrelevant. Some people can stomach that a 5 game series essentially erases 162 games worth of accomplishments. Sorry, but I can’t. The regular season is less relevant in every sport except college football. Every game matters, and that’s more valuable than many of us realize. Wildcard teams should be taken out of every sport. They were introduced into the sports world to make more money. Don’t let anyone fool you, the ONLY reason wildcard teams make the playoffs is to generate more revenue, it has nothing to do with “fairness.”
Even with a playoff how do you know you have the right Champion?
Does anyone really think the ‘07 Giants were better than the ‘07 Patriots? If the Arizona Cardinals had won two years ago, would anyone really have thought they were the best team in the NFL? They were 9-7 in the regular season. You can look throughout sports history and quickly realize that the teams who go home with the hardware are often not the best team in their sport, yet we’re quick to adorn them with greatness. The majority of these teams have one thing in common; They got hot or “gelled” at the right time. In College Football, the team who goes home with the Waterford Crystal has generally played to perfection against the stiffest of competition for 14 weeks. To me, that is the sign of a true champion. They’ve stood tall and weathered the storm for nearly 4 months, yet for many of us, that’s not good enough.
Right now the playoff dispute has momentum through uncertainty and “the grass is always greener” phenomenon.
The problem is, some fans are supporting a playoff that would not at all go along with what they’d want to see. I don’t think we should keep pushing for a change until we completely understand and agree with what that change will be. (insert Obama joke here)
College Football is distinctive and unique. Why shouldn’t the process in which it chooses its champion be distinctive and unique as well? The pageantry, the parades, the polls, the bowl games, the important regular season, etc… To me that’s part of what makes an extraordinary sport even more special. Why do we need to try and make it like all the other sports? Most of us agree that it’s the best sport around. Have any of you ever stopped and considered maybe that’s because it’s not like the rest?
Life’s not fair, and neither are sports. We’ve got to stop this attitude of “everyone deserves a trophy” just for being on a team. It’s what’s killing our country. I don’t like to end my articles on a political diatribe, but it’s an often stated fact that sports are a microcosm of society. We all want everything to be fair for everyone. Well it can’t be, and the sooner we learn to accept that, the better. Tough luck Boise State and TCU fans, but that’s the breaks.