Every year we sit and watch as the BCS makes a mess of the college football season, leaving one or two teams to scream bloody murder about getting left out of the championship game. Every year I hope this will be the tipping point to push the NCAA, the conferences and the TV networks to embrace a playoff system so we can dispense with the arguing and get on with the business of crowning a legit national champion.
Look, I hold no ill will towards Oklahoma and Florida, but you're insane if you think they're the clear-cut two best teams in the country. How can you legitimately distinguish between Oklahoma, Florida, USC, Texas, Penn State, Alabama and Texas Tech? And for that matter, who's to say Utah and Boise State aren't deserving of some consideration? The whole mess raises a few questions:
I honestly can't answer any of those questions. Nobody can, which is why the BCS is garbage and needs to be replaced. Bring this up to some anti-playoff zealot and you'll typically get one of the following retorts:
A playoff would takes the students out of school for too long.
Really? They're already missing classes for 12 weeks, sometimes 13, but they can't have football chewing up so much time in December... after finals are finished? And if the logistics are the problem, why do FCS (Division I-AA) and Division II both have playoffs?
A playoff would ruin the tradition of the bowl games.
Bollocks. The only bowl games with any tradition whatsoever are the Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton and Holiday. The rest of worthless exhibitions featuring largely worthless teams. Is there really any tradition behind the GMAC, International, Houston and New Orleans Bowls? Let the teams that miss the playoffs go to bowl games if the tradition means that much to you. And please don't feed me the line that nobody will care about the bowl games if there's a playoff. Nobody cares about any bowl game that doesn't involve their own team, with the exception of the national title game.
A playoff would ruin the awesomeness of the regular season, where every game counts.
Yes, it is entirely awesome that every game in the regular season counts so much. Except for the one where Texas beat Oklahoma.
A playoff would be easy. Take the champions of the 11 FBS conference along with five at-large teams and put them in a single-elimination tournament. Sure, the 17th team will be cheesed-off, but we get by with the 66th team in college basketball whining for a few days. Let's look at the seedings if such a tournament were held this year:
#1 Florida (SEC Champ) vs. #16 Troy (Sun Belt Champ)
#2 Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ) vs. #15 Buffalo (MAC Champ)
#3 Texas (At-Large) vs. #14 East Carolina (Conference USA Champ)
#4 USC (Pac 10 Champ) vs. #13 Cincinnati (Big East Champ)
#5 Alabama (At-Large) vs. #12 Virginia Tech (ACC Champ)
#6 Penn State (Big 10 Champ) vs. #11 TCU (At-Large)
#7 Utah (Mountain West Champ) vs. #10 Ohio State (At-Large)
#8 Texas Tech (At-Large) vs. #9 Boise State (WAC Champ)
Are some teams and fans angry? Sure. Georgia, BYU, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Michigan State and Ball State are all enraged. Tough. All of them could have won one more game here or there to get themselves in, which means, yes, the regular season is still supremely important. This would also encourage teams to play a tough non-conference opponent, since all they'd have to do is win their conference to get in. So will it happen? Not any time soon, giving us all the opportunity to complain about the coaches poll (an absolute fraud), the computers (you can't determine the quality of a team by looking at scores and standing) and the college presidents who refuse to see a playoff as a gold mine.