Imagine a Champion Based Partly On a Computer: Wait, Just Watch College Football
Disclaimer: I am a graduate of the University of Florida, and I am thrilled that they are playing in tomorrow night's BCS National Championship game.
As I sat and watched the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl, it dawned on me once again. The champion for what is arguably the second-biggest sport in the United States is not entirely decided by on-field performance. I will put this is more easy-to-understand language. A computer is part of the equation in determining major college football's national champion.
Let me present two of the arguments against having a playoff, and then I will discredit both of them.
First off, the people in charge of the what seems like 1,000 bowl games contend that having a playoff would lower the relevance of all the other bowl games. My counter to that is: how can you lower the relevance of games that already don't mean anything?
Who cares that USF beat Memphis in the St. Petersburg Bowl? Or that Team B defeated Team A in the PapaJohns.com Bowl? These games, save for the BCS games and a few random others, are just glorified exhibitions and a way for each of the competing schools to make a lot of money.
Secondly, school presidents say that a playoff system would extend the season and add extra games and practice time to the already-hectic schedule of the "student-athlete". Here's the problem with that position. First, at most of the major schools that contend for the national championship, it is debatable that these players are even students at all (and that is no knock on the players). They are used by the schools as money-making machines.
Secondly, the season doesn't have to be extended. There was over a month between the last game the Florida Gators played (the SEC title game on December 6) and the title game (January 8). An eight-team playoff could be played over three weeks throughout December. It wouldn't add weeks to the season. But it sure would add intrigue.
I can only hope that ESPN, who recently won the rights to the BCS games from 2011-2014, can be persuasive in getting the NCAA to change the system. If not, we might just have to rely on our new president, Barack Obama, who has much more important things to deal with.
P.S. Gators 31, Oklahoma 23
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