The 2008 college football season was one of the best that the football world has seen in several years. Many have projected the upcoming 2009 season to be just as good, if not better. I believe there are several factors contributing to the success of the 2008 season.
Here are my top four reasons for the success of the 2008 college football season:
4. The underdog still played his part, while not completely embracing the entire season.
The 2007 season witnessed its share of underdog upsets, and 2008 seemed poised to do the same with the runs of East Carolina and Vandy during the first half of the season.
While this season did not necessarily see the upsets of “Appy State over Michigan,” it did however witness one of the traditional powerhouses, Alabama, taking a bow to a team, Utah, better known for, well, a team that is really unknown. Moreover, it all took place on one of college football’s biggest stages, the Sugar Bowl.
Oregon State played the spoiler to USC’s national title hopes on national television, and Ole Miss nearly did the same to the eventual champion Florida Gators.
Everyone loves to see an underdog story, and 2008 had its share to make this season great.
3. Some of college football’s traditional powerhouses did make a return to the national scene.
Just think about it, when teams like USC, Notre Dame, and Alabama succeed everyone is interested in college football a little more.
Alabama spent five weeks in the No. 1 spot before falling to the national champions in one of the best games of the season, the SEC Championship game. That run of 12-0 during the regular season had many college football fans enthralled.
Notre Dame did something that most of their players perhaps cannot even remember ever happening in their lifetime—they won a bowl game! Moreover, they did it convincingly over what was virtually a home game for Hawaii. Notre Dame is returning to prominence and that helps the college football world.
When you throw in the continued success of such traditional powers as USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, and other greats, you have the formula for a season worth watching.
2. The match ups were phenomenal.
While some of the traditional rivalries did not meet the expectations, most did and others were nothing short of spectacular—particularly in the BIG XII.
The Oklahoma-Texas game was just a teaser leading up to the Texas-Texas Tech game, perhaps one of the top three games of the season.
Penn State and Ohio State seemed equally matched in arguably one of college football’s biggest rivalries.
And even a down-trodden Auburn team managed to make a great game with UGA, the “South’s Oldest Rivalry.”
In the end, the national title game proved to be one of the best title games of the BCS era.
The traditional, once-a-year rivalries and the great match ups of college football, unlike anything found in most sports, is reason No. 2 for the success of 2008.
1. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be great!
With all of the fuss over college football’s postseason, I believe that the fact that the system is not perfect is one of the substantial reasons why more and more people are flocking to the sport.
Why does it have to be mapped out perfectly and have everything set in precise order? If you think a playoff will help, then answer this one question honestly: Do playoffs always work fairly?
The answer is a definite no. Some team as equally as good as the lowest seed will always be left out because of some technicality, and the argument of the systems reliability is again questioned.
If you rely on the college basketball playoff, then you run into the fact that too many games will be required in such a short span. Football players simply cannot play two games in three days.
Did USC deserve a spot in the title game? Perhaps. However, did they deserve it more than Texas who had beaten one of the title contenders? That answer is a resounding no—in my humble opinion.
Did Utah deserve a shot at the title? I think yes but it just did not work that way. Fair or not, the system’s imperfection reflects upon the imperfection in 18-22 year old kids and the coaches who try to steer and control them throughout their college careers.
For those who are successful, congratulations on your success. For those who cannot be, it is still okay. You provide us with entertainment and joy unlike anything else.
That, my friend, is why I think the 2008 college football season was one of the best we have seen in recent years.
Look soon for my next article on the top four reasons why 2009 will be even better than this year!