Yes, Jim Mora, with all due respect I want to talk about “playoffs”. I want to talk about the poor undefeated college football teams who have to settle for consolation games instead of playing for all the marbles. Yes, I want to place the needle back on the most often played broken record in history. I want to talk about “playoffs”. I want to talk about the simple solution to sports greatest catastrophy.
Like a good guy I sat in this past Saturday night, had some Chinese food, and watched the entire Texas vs Nebraska Big 12 title game. As sluggish of a game as it was, I was getting more excited with every second that had past. I knew with every big Nebraska stop, and with every big offensive play, that every college fat-cat, every BCS tight shirt, and every big-money bowl sponsor was quaking in their boots. Imagine rooting against a bunch of college kids playing their hearts out for fear of a bottom line. I jumped out of my seat in pure joy when Nebraska took the late 12-10 lead, and was quickly trying to think of which one of the big 3 upstarts would play in the title game. Hmm, imagine Cincy’s high power offense against Bama’s defense. The Horned Frogs of TCU perhaps? Hey, maybe even Boise State finally getting that glimmer of respect. It was brewing into the sweetest moment in my memory of college football.
The broken record continues. The almighty BCS speaks again, and every college football fan in the country shakes an angry fist at it, but also realizes it’s not about to change. In fact, this year the BCS went as far as to hire sports marketing firm Ari Fleischer Sports Communications to push the issue of why this system works so well and why should college football try and fix a system that’s not broken. To me, it sounds like the guy that tells his wife he is working late, comes home with lipstick on his shirt and tries to explain that he has no clue how it got there? “If you have a playoff system, then think about how many fans of 9-3 teams would be complaining about not getting into the playoff,s” was the AFSC’s big defense. Ok so let’s not upset the fans of 3-loss teams, but rather destroy the hopes of teams who go undefeated. Are they trying to say that Cincy’s huge comeback win over 15th ranked Pitt wasn’t worth anything?
Basically it comes down to this, the big name. Would you go out and see a bad movie that starred me, or a bad movie that starred Brad Pitt? The BCS is telling us that they really don’t care what the match-up is as long as 2 big named schools play in the big game. I’m sure not one executive at Tostitos, or Fed Ex, or Nokia, Outback, Capitol One, Chick-Fil-A or any other of the countless sponsors can tell me who Brian Kelly is (coach of the Cincy Bobcats of course) or what conference TCU plays in, but rest assured the games are arranged for their benefit. Hey screw you Mr. College Football watcher, we have tortilla chips to sell. It is a flim-flam system that seems to get worse every year.
I took the liberty to look at the BCS’s top 16 heading into the Bowl games, quite frankly I see great potential match-ups and don’t see as to why they wouldn’t generate big money? Instead of waiting a month plus to see the BCS games, let’s go with a 16 team playoff. It would take the same amount of time to end, and it would give more schools a chance to play for all the marbles! What do you really gain from winning the 3 vs 4 bowl game? How many kids do you see jumping around saying “yeah we are number 3 baby?” It hardly pays to even go undefeated. Here is a quick look at the 16 team field and how it would play out, tell me you don’t see excitement in these games:
1 Alabama vs 16 West Virginia
2 Texas vs 15 Miami(Fla)
3 Cincinnati vs 14 BYU
4 TCU vs 13 Penn State
5 Florida vs 12 LSU ( I like that already)
6 Boise State vs 11 Virginia Tech
7 Oregon vs 10 Iowa
8 Ohio State vs 9 Oregon
Don’t get me wrong, I think Bowl games are nice for a bunch of conference winners and independent teams to have and celebrate good seasons with one last game. I have no problem with seeing teams play games in the middle of the week and see some nice unusual match-ups. So let’s get real, do you think “Joe Quarterback” who is a senior will be telling his grandkids about how his team won the “Bobs Corn Dog’s Cereal Bowl”, finished undefeated and they finished ranked 8th? Wouldn’t he rather say how his team pulled off the big upset and played the number one team in the nation in a playoff? Sounds like no comparison to me.
I know, I know, half of the sports writers in the world are arguing this same case right now, and quite frankly they should. College basketball strikes it rich with its 64 team tourney every year. Boat loads of money gets made, and everyone is happy. Of course you will always have your 1 or 2 teams that didn’t get in, but is that so different from the NHL, NBA, NFL, etc.? You can’t protect everyones feelings, but hey if you lose that often those are the breaks, this system in college football punishes undefeated teams due to size of school and history, it stinks!
All this is pretty on the eyes, but let’s face it, on January 7th we will be eating steaks at Outback, or eating Tostitos, or using our Capitol One credit cards and suffering through the game we have been forced fed. “What’s in MY wallet”? A lot of disappointment.
If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the book The Fifty-Year Seduction: How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS by clicking here.
Check out the 2008 Championship Season Highlights-Florida Gators DVD by clicking here.