For more than two decades I've been arguing against a playoff. For more than
two decades I've enjoyed watching teams get systematically eliminated from week
to week as a loss in September is just as crushing to National Title hopes as a
loss in December.
All that went out the window this year as several preconceived notions got
demolished in what was the strangest season of college football in my lifetime.
There is a new era in college football. Gary Danielson of CBS constantly refers
to "Modern Day Football" in his broadcasts. I think Danielson does a
terrific job as a lead analyst for CBS College Football, and he needs to amend
his modern day football talk to include parity.
Modern Day Football is Parity.
With 85 scholarships per team, bowls for everyone, TV for everyone, no longer to
the super powers of college football hold all the chips. Does Appalachian State
beat Michigan 20 years ago? Does the #1 team in the country lose to unranked
teams multiple times in a season? Does the #2 team get beat every week 20 years
Some may feel this is a knee jerk reaction to a season that is no more than an anomaly,
but I feel that this season wasn't an anomaly. I think we are going to see more
seasons like this and many fewer seasons with two super powers standing alone at
There is no excellent this year. There is no "deserve" to play for the
championship. Everyone fell this year. If a team gets chosen, it's because they
were fortunate, not because they were deserving.
#1 Ohio State (11-1) - you played two teams that are ranked in the Top 25, and you couldn't even run that two game gauntlet unscathed... you're out.
#2 LSU (11-2) - Well, I guess the third time is the charm, and maybe if
you're #1 after your next game it'll stick this time. Les Miles and company are
two plays away from being undefeated. They're also three plays away from being
7-5... you're out.
#3 Oklahoma (11-2) - You lost early to a mediocre Colorado team,
rebounded, and lost late when you controlled your own destiny... you're out.
#4 Georgia (10-2) - If you can't win the right to play in your conference
championship game on the field, you don't deserve to be playing for a bigger
prize by default... you're out.
#5 Virginia Tech (11-2) - Seems last week that the pollsters forgave that
48-7 drubbing at the hands of LSU when they voted you ahead of the Tigers. I
didn't. Two loss teams that get beat by 41 don't play for the championship...
#6 USC (10-2) - You lost to Stanford. That's really all I need to say,
but even still, if you look above you, you would be playing for the championship
if you had taken care of your business. Two loss teams that lose to Stanford
don't play for the championship... you're out.
#7 Missouri (11-2) - You lost to Oklahoma once. You got a second chance,
you still couldn't beat them... you're out.
#8 Kansas (11-1) - You have the same record as Ohio State and played just
as weak a schedule. The Bucks aren't being punished, why are you? I'm punishing
you because you didn't win your conference. Why you drop in the polls while idle
and Ohio State moves up, you'll have to take that up with the pollsters. No
conference championship, no national championship... you're out.
#9 Florida (9-3) - It looks like the voters are willing to give LSU three
chances, but four chances evidently is too much to ask. There's still plenty of
hardware that needs to be shined in Gainesville, and there might be more on the
way. Just not the national championship game... you're out.
#10 Hawaii (12-0) You don't play in the same league as everyone else, so
you don't get to play for the title. I'd be more inclined to take Appalachian
State should they keep winning. Take some notes on Fresno State's past out of
conference scheduling, or join the Pac 10 and make them have a championship
game. But since you were never in... you're out.
#11 West Virginia (10-2) - We were watching last night.... you're out.
#12 Arizona State (10-2) - See Georgia. Two loss teams that don't win
their conference don't play for national championships.
At the end of the season, it turns out no one is left standing. The NFL and
College Football have traded places. The NFL preaches parity and a 12-4 team is
likely a #1 seed for the playoffs. This year, I'd be content to see New England
and Dallas hook up for all the marbles in two weeks. Everyone else had their
shot, why do they deserve a second?
Take a look above at College though. There is no one left standing. With no
excellent to choose from, the BCS is left to choose from a gaggle of pretty
If I had control over the BCS selections, here's what I'd do based on the
I'd take Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Ohio State has the best record of the major conference schools. It's not Ohio
State's fault that the rest of the Big 10 was dreadful this year. They took care
of their business, relative to the rest of the country, and put up the best
record. Ohio State... you're in.
Oklahoma has the same record as any of the other contenders. They showed that
when they are healthy they are as good as anyone in the country. They put up an
impressive victory over #1 winning their conference.
LSU lived on the edge all season and fell twice. They epitomize what college
football is this year, a sport in which any team can beat any other team. They
needed overtime to decide nearly all of their games. The good people of Baton
Rouge must have awfully strong hearts this year.
But in a beauty contest, they won too many ugly ones, and I'd vote for the
I could live with a deserving team getting left out in 2004 for the tradeoff of
having compelling games September through December all across the country.
Missouri/Oklahoma and Pittsburgh/West Virginia is the playoff atmosphere I speak
of, but all those games ended up proving, is that it's only a playoff when you
lose. Being selected for the bigger prize is still a popularity contest.
Seeing a deserving team left out of the title game didn't change my mind, but
seeing two teams selected from the masses of unworthy has changed my mind.
I'm ready for a playoff.
If it were a plus one format. I would choose these teams.
Ohio State vs USC
Oklahoma vs LSU
I still believe in a team winning its conference, even if the voters didn't in
2001 (Nebraska) and 2003 (Oklahoma), and I believe that those are the four best
teams of the conference winners.
If an eight team playoff were put into place. Here's how my bracket would look.
1. Ohio State
7. Virginia Tech
I was one of those people that felt that a playoff would take away from the
regular season. But if the BCS is choosing two loss teams, then the regular
season has been taken away from already. For those of you that have been arguing
with me for the better part of the last 10 years. I give up. You win.
I think I could muster some excitement for an eight team tournament.
How about you?