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Can a D1 Playoff Save College Football?

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators looks to pass the ball during the FedEx BCS National Championship Game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

In an era where sports and controversy intertwine more than ever, is there any hope that one crisis can alleviate what ails its enduring fans?

One of the biggest controversies in all of sports is without question the Bowl Championship Series, putting the fates of 10 teams in the hands of voters and computers.

Ever since the creation of the system, controversy has followed in its wake.

Who will forget 2001, where Nebraska passed up Colorado despite falling to the Buffaloes 61-36?

Not to mention the fact that CU won the Big 12 title that year.

End result—Miami destroys Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win the National Title and CU got destroyed by Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

Though in hindsight, that 2001 Miami team was among the greatest ever.

How about 2003 where USC finished No. 1 in both human polls but was denied a title shot?

How did Trojan fans feel having to share a championship with LSU?

Or 2004 when three teams finished undefeated?

Auburn was left to watch USC destroy Oklahoma 55-19, and wonder why they didn't get their shot.

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Most recently, the BCS computers chose Oklahoma to play in the conference title game and inevitably get the top poll spot despite to losing to No. 3 Texas in the Red River Shootout.

And Utah's victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl raised even more questions about the legitimacy of the system.

Now, even Congress has stepped in, as representatives, from Utah and Texas mostly, tried to force college football to create a playoff system.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect system, and there never will be one.

It doesn't matter what system gets implemented because of multiple potential flaws.

Probably the most common change to the system is putting two games between the top four teams to determine who plays in the championship game.

The other notion is to create a situation similar to the FCS tournament, where the top 16 or so play to determine the champion.

Two major problems with this idea:

1. Student Athletes

While the players on the field may be some of the best athletes in the country, don't forget that student comes before athlete.

December is typically the time where students take finals and other tests before the winter break.

Not to mention that teams may be playing upwards of 16-17 games in this system.

2. Bowls Generate Money

In a system, which there are 36 bowl games, the college postseason is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Get rid of the bowls, and most of the money would go away.

In addition, where do they host these new games?

Most neutral sites would be occupied by the NFL, especially with small turn around for games.

Hosting games at college stadiums involves multiple issues, such as selling 100,000 tickets on a short notice, plus operating costs and TV rights being very expensive.

Another, more important, problem with the new playoff system is someone will always be left out.

There would be no guaranteed method for ensuring the best teams compete in the playoff without questions and rage being thrown out.

So what is the best system?

Depends on who you ask, really.

The teams that benefit most from the scenario takes the glory, even if they don't win in the end.

But truly, do we want the system we had before, when the voters determined the champion?

This observer says no, and that despite the system it has produced great games such as the 2003 Fiesta Bowl and 2006 Rose Bowl for the championship.

In addition, it has created other great contests such as the epic 2007 Fiesta Bowl, the 2006 Sugar Bowl between West Virginia and Georgia, and 2009's Fiesta Bowl featuring Colt McCoy's miraculous final drive.

But really, the college football season is the playoffs, and having a final playoff eliminates the need for teams to win every game they can during the year.

This is part of the lore and mystique of the game, and what makes those special games even more special.

Every game means something, and it always should.

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