TAG | Sports Illustrated
I have very little time to make this post before the game, so I will keep it short and sweet. I hate that there is not a playoff to crown the champion of college football. I’ve gone back and forth on the issue with a classmate recently, and although it is impossible to change anyone’s opinion that is so deeply rooted, I have to state my case now.
To do so, and to keep myself on point, I want to respond directly to the argument from BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock that was relayed in an article posted today on Sports Illustrated. The second paragraph reads: “Bill Hancock said a playoff at college football’s highest level would lead to more injuries, conflict with final exams, kill the bowl system and diminish the importance of the regular season.”
Injuries are a part of the game, and every other division of college football finds a way to deal with injuries through and end-of-season playoff. Those schools also find a way to work around the final exams. The bowl system died when they created 87 or so bowl games, and further, you can still tag each of the games in the playoff as a specific bowl game and still play the other 50 meaningless games pairing random teams in glorified exhibition matches.
The affect a playoff would have on the regular season is the most compelling argument, but I also think it works against those that argue against a playoff. The argument is that a team can still make the playoff with 1 or 2 losses, thus those powerhouse matches (Florida-Alabama recently comes to mind) would mean less as each will most likely still make the playoff and have a chance to be the national champion.
To a degree, yes; however, it will certainly affect seeding in the playoffs, and if that important matchup is played early in the season and you lose, you’re going to have to play perfect the rest of the way. And most importantly, there is something unique about the passion of college football; in my view, that passion would survive and those top-10 matchup games will still be filled with pride and intense competition.
Further, this argument is founded on the idea that games only matter if they have a bearing on the national championship. If a school loses their first two games, do they stop playing the rest of the season? What about schools that know they do not have a chance; should they not even suit it up for game one?
Ultimately, there are arguments that go back and forth on each side. Most of it, even what I’ve said here, is speculation. At the core, to me, it just feels wrong and dirty to have it settled this way. Boise State is 49-3 since 2006 with two undefeated seasons since then. And it is not just the small schools that get wronged without a playoff. During the Penn State / LSU game it showed a state that PSU has been undefeated 5 times under Joe Paterno, but only the national championship once. So you may believe that a Boise State type school couldn’t hang with the big boys, what do you say to those 4 Penn State undefeated teams that never got a shot?
To close, a poll by Quinnipiac University, reported in SI, showed that 63 percent of fans want a playoff, while only 26 percent want to keep the current system (leaving 11 percent undecided). ‘”College football fans are not in love with the current system in which two teams that play for the national championship are picked by computers, sportswriters and coaches,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Settle the question on the field, voters say more than two-to-one.”‘
And if you’re wondering, I’m still going to watch the game. I’m not as strong as Cyd Zeigler over at OutSports who is so anti-BCS that he will not watch and posted his list of other TV programming options today during the game. Hilarious. Keep up the good work, Cyd.