01 January 2007

CFR is on the march!

College Football Resource is on the campaign against a playoff; in a frankly nauseating trend, Sports Illustrated and ESPN are on the campaign for a playoff. Who says the media doesn't create the stories it reports on?

For the record, once more, I'm against a playoff. I'm mostly against the BCS.

The ideal solution would be a system wherein, in the years where there is some contention about the best team (years which in the past might have resulted in a "split championship"), it would be advisable to attempt to negotiate a game between those two teams.

But most years, this is a stupid idea. If Ohio State had played USC in a traditional Rose Bowl match-up, no matter what Florida did to whomever in they would have played in the Sugar Bowl, everyone would agree that Ohio State was the National Champion. Last year, everyone agreed that Texas should have a chance to play USC, and everyone also agreed that "it wouldn't have happened without the BCS." The former is true, the latter is complete bullshit. It might not have happened prior to the BCS, but it could have happened in any number of other ways.

Honestly, I'm more interested in the integrity of the Rose Bowl tradition in particular, which has been shafted since the introduction of the BCS (moreso in terms of a excellent West Coast team playing against an excellent East Coast, Southern, or Midwest team than in terms of the Pac-10 playing against the Big 10).

The arguments against a playoff in NCAA are so numerous that it is laughable that anyone is seriously considering it:

1) Any appeals to how a professional team does it are based on the limited numbers of professional teams available in any league (there are 32 teams in the NFL; with those numbers, 16 games allows a reasonable assumption of the relative strengths of each team), and the professional needs of the sport, which in the US require parity above all else and so need a playoff system where any team, regardless of consistent athletic excellence over the course of the season, can "win it all";

2) Any appeals to how other NCAA sports do it are based on the limited appeal of any other NCAA sport except basketball: those sports can have a championship because no one particularly cares—and certainly only publish limited column space on it—if an excellent team is left out of the tournaments;

3) Any appeals to the distress of only having won a mythical championship versus a "real" championship are sad and pathetic, and don't give enough appreciation to all the teams before the BCS who won championships, or teams in non-playoff sports, or games or sports played any other way.

4) And of course, in the present system the season is the playoff. We had our initial rounds earlier in the season: Ohio State advances over Texas, Michigan advances over Notre Dame, Florida and Auburn advance over LSU, Arkansas advances over Auburn. The semifinals were in the last weeks of the season: USC beat Notre Dame; Notre Dame is out, USC advances. A week later, Ohio State beat Michigan; Ohio State is in, Michigan is probably out depending on the results of the USC and Florida-Arkansas games. Two weeks after that, Florida beat Arkansas: Florida is in and Arkansas is out; then UCLA beat USC: USC is out.

It could not have possibly been scripted better by a playoff committee.

We don't need a playoff in college football, we need better scheduling.


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