The Bowl System Is an Unjust Hierarchy (Who Decides the Fate of Your Team?)

Russell FikeCorrespondent INovember 19, 2008

May the best team be voted into prominence?  With election time still fresh in our memories, it’s not difficult to see that absolute consensus is unrealistic.  Yet in the National rankings of College Football, the illusion of an indisputable number one exists.

Subjected to the totem pole of supremacy, a college football team relinquishes full control of its destiny to computers and rankings.  Indeed, “it is time for a change, America.” 

There is some mystery behind how the ranking system works.  Fans never get to see “the man behind the curtain,” but only the façade of the Wizard.  Let’s try to break down the current ranking system.

On the one hand, the current ranking system is crippled by the overly simple approach of “last man standing.”  Any team with an undefeated record is clearly number one, right?

On the other hand, rankings are churned out by a system of computers reminiscent of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Computers so advanced that football fans cower in submission to their whims.  Computers so complex that only Russian chess masters can begin to trace the formulas used to determine rankings—and the Russians don’t care enough about College Football to argue.

With no consideration given to specific matchups, or for the possibility of some well-timed coaching brilliance, a la the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl of 2007, we are left with an “appointee take all” system.

College Football would do well to take a clue from their basketball counterpart.  March Madness provides a plethora of matchups, with any number screaming upset.

Whether it be the small school gaining notoriety by reaching the Elite Eight, or a top seed like the Memphis Tigers and their dribble drive motion offense being upset by the University of Kansas Jayhawks in last year’s championship game, there is a lot to be settled on the court.  No team should be above earning a Title such as national champion, and too many teams don’t ever get the chance to argue their case on the football field.

Additionally, lest we forget, unpredictability remains.  There is no way to remove all the variables effecting a fair evaluation of football teams.  We are denied the pleasure of watching the experiment of matchups unfold on our television screens.  That which should be witnessed by all of America is confined to the Central Processing Unit of some computer.  The decision of number one should not be a decision at all.

The offseason leaves fans with their well-rehearsed, discontented tirades about the “what ifs,” to console the feeling of finishing a season ranked third.  The negativity toward the Bowl system is rivaled only by the current sentiments of stock investors.

However, with a new administration coming into office, maybe there is actually “change we can believe in.”