Let's flash back to the days that surely Coach Paterno would remember. A day when bowl games were strictly aligned with conferences and the national champion came down to a vote without any checks and balances. A day when a team could go undefeated, be voted as No. 1, and never play a team ranked in the Top 10.
Luckily for us, those days are behind us. Now we at least get to see the No. 1 and No. 2 teams face off to end the season. There isn't much debate over whether the current BCS model is superior to the past. Many can acknowledge that today college football crowns a much more deserving champion than in the past.
However, the debate arises when people speculate over the future playoff possibilities. The majority of the talk is centered around a playoff being the be-all-end-all solution. This is where I beg to differ.
I feel that college football crowns the truest champion of any other sport in America. The grueling regular season, the conference championship games, and the non-conference scheduling all make college football the most competitive and demanding sport.
Let's take examples from around sports, and you can decide for yourself which teams really earned their title.
In 2007, the New England Patriots ran a perfect record for the entire regular season and through the playoffs up until the Super Bowl. While there is something to be said for losing to a team head-to-head, I can't help but feel they were the best team last year and they proved it.
However, the New York Giants limped through the regular season in comparison. Qualifying as a wild card team with a 10-6 record. While that's nothing to be disappointed in, whom would you rather crown the champion for the 2007 season? The 18-1 Patriots or the 14-6 Giants.
When looking at NCAA basketball, you can take almost any year as an example. Very rarely does a team go through the regular season as being ranked No. 1 and make a run all the way through the tournament. It happens, but more often than not, a team that I would rank in the No. 4-10 range wins the tournament.
If we were to incorporate some type of playoff system this season for college football, most everyone would include USC and Ohio State. Let's say they don't meet in the tournament, but USC loses in the Final Four to Florida and Ohio State were to get hot in the tournament and run the table.
Who would you want as your national champion? USC and Ohio State would have two losses each and USC blew the doors off Ohio State earlier in the year.
The debate would still exist. Creating a playoff system wouldn't eliminate the debate, it would just create a different one. And don't tell me that there wouldn't be teams feeling left out of an eight- or 16-team field. We have to listen to ESPN interview coaches who were left out of a 65-team basketball field, who feel they have a right to be there.
We shouldn't be crowning the team who's hottest at the end of the year. We should be saluting a year's worth of work, effort, and dedication. The real champions are those who show up game in and game out, and win without excuses. I'd say that the BCS delivers this team more accurately than any other system in any other sport.