Why Not Having an NCAA Football Playoff Is BS
It will diminish the value of the regular season to have a college playoff system. Games in September and October that currently carry the intensity of an NFL playoff game would be rendered insignificant if several one and two loss teams still had a shot to play their way into a title game.
Would the annual late summer tradition of Notre Dame vs. Michigan ever matter if both teams knew that losing that game wouldn't actually extinguish their title luster?
Would there have been such a frenzied atmosphere at Ohio State when USC visited a couple weeks ago knowing that win or lose, both teams would still have a very viable shot to rebound into an eight team playoff in December?
I admit it, it's a strong argument. The last thing I want as a fan is to turn the college football season into the NCAA basketball season, which I never watch until March Madness.
I like going to Beaver Stadium to cheer my alma mater knowing that every game counts. It adds to my anxiety and the buildup throughout a day of tailgating leading up to the big event, even when that big game is only against say, Northwestern. That's because one single off day means your season is over. Every play counts.
And if you're one of those handful of teams in late October still undefeated, style points count too. So every play of every quarter really matters, whether you're facing USC or Temple.
So OK, I assume we're on the same page so far. We both want the regular season to mean something, whether it's September, October, or November.
Well, guess what? My alma mater just lost to Iowa tonight (again). Yes I know, woe is me, so what.
Point being, it's still September, and the only team I care about has already been eliminated from championship contention, much the same as last year because of one lonely bad day.
No matter how well Penn State plays the rest of the season, it doesn't matter; none of it matters now.
I now know we have no shot at the title. It's set in stone, and don't even try to tell me otherwise.
Penn State didn't even get to play for the title when they did go undefeated most recently in '94, let alone anytime they've finished with a single blemish on their record (like last year or 2005). Three times, Paterno has actually gone undefeated without even being invited to a championship game.
The fact that you don't even have to validate your regular season by playing through a grueling playoff of the top teams in all the land to win a championship is just so wrong, no matter how you frame it.
Imagine if the World Series just took the two teams a few voters and a computer thought were the best after 162 games and said, OK go play each other for the title now.
Fans of all but maybe 10 teams in the entire country would quit paying attention by the end of May, and by the end of July only four or five cities would still be in the running with half the season still remaining.
But I digress: that's baseball, and I'm trying to speak to college football, so let me get back at the subject at hand.
I ask you this. Whose regular season are you saving by refusing to install a college football playoff system?
Aside from backing their way into the BCS title game IF AND ONLY IF virtually all the remaining undefeateds slip up between now and December, teams like Ohio State, Virginia Tech, USC, Penn State, Georgia, and Oklahoma have no more meaningful games left in 2009, and it's still only September.
And don't tell me the rivalry games such as Georgia/Florida and Oklahoma/Texas will still be meaningful for Georgia and Oklahoma.
Because if you do, I'll counter with the same argument that even with a playoff system in December, those games would still be meaningful by the same token.
Ensuring the meaning of the regular season, eh? Not mine.
How many teams actually make it through the regular season undefeated? One? Two? Maybe three if you really push your luck.
When the season starts, everyone is undefeated, but after one week, half the nation's schools are already eliminated from title contention.
Two weeks into the season, the number of eligible teams for the title drops even more. By the end of September, the majority of the top 25 schools in the nation already have at least one loss and are only playing for honor.
Don't get me wrong, playing for honor and pride is a great thing, but just don't tell me you're not having a playoff to make MY regular season more interesting.
By mid October, all but five or six schools in the entire country are out of the running. For the 100+ schools and their fans, who aren't undefeated, the rest of their season is as meaningful as a college basketball game in February.
Actually, I take that back. At least a big college basketball victory in February could potentially have some impact on whether you get into the big dance in March as opposed to what Georgia upsetting Florida in four weeks could do for the Bulldogs title hopes.
Advantage: college basketball regular season, sadly enough.
Woohoo, where do I enroll for this? What? I don't have to even sign up? You mean it's being pushed down my throat either way? Terrific!
When Penn State hosts Ohio State next month, it's going to be for nothing but some clean and hearty school pride for both universities. How exciting!!
I'm sure television sponsors are practically emptying their wallets for ABC to be a part of that highly anticipated, no title ramifications regular season game.
I know I am. (insert extremely sarcastic emoticon here).
I'm already looking ahead to the 2010 season. Wake me when this year is over. I don't care if we sweep the table and finish 11-1. At best, we'd get to play in a single bowl game that amounts to nothing but yet more good old fashioned school pride.
Rah-rah, go team!
I hate knowing the final eight regular season games mean nothing now. And for that, I thank you oh mysterious ones who refuse to create a playoff system that would actually give me a reason to keep watching the 2009 season.
I mean, even just an eight-team playoff would keep so many more of us interested following a single loss like my Alma mater endured tonight.
Now the regular season amounts to nothing for the next three months. I'm already counting the days until the Youngstown State game Sept. 4, 2010. How depressing.
Kind of ironic considering a non playoff system is supposed to enrich the regular season and preserve the hype.
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