At the annual NCAA convention in Indy this week, they are talking everything from multi-year scholarships, stipends for cost of living and rules compliance. They are also talking college football and how they want to crown their National Champion in 2014. Many administrators are clamoring for a wooden trophy to be handed out to the national champion, instead of the crystal football that is currently given to the BCS champ.
"Nick Saban and ESPN love the crystal football."
A wooden trophy, which is given out in 89 other collegiate sports, would mean one thing, a playoff.
A playoff! Who wants a playoff? Everyone. All of this crap about the regular season is college football’s playoff is simply crap. If it was, Alabama wouldn’t have received the opportunity to beat LSU in the BCS National Championship. So that argument is out the window.
It’s stupid. Because of the BCS National Championship, the other games mean absolutely nothing. Sure, they can be entertaining. Sure, the big games bring in revenue. But, the winner doesn’t march on and the loser, well they wouldn’t have marched on even if they won. Imagine if the winner of the Oklahoma State/Stanford game would have advanced to the national championship. How much fun would that have been? Instead, it’s exciting for a minute and then everyone forgets about it.
College football needs a playoff. They have been needing a playoff. Heck, I wrote an opinion piece in eighth grade arguing that college football needed a playoff. I’m 31. That was 17 years ago. Wow, I’m really old.
Could it finally be on the horizon? Arizona State president Michael Crow says, “Yes”.
“We’re looking for a tournament-style event where if you win a conference championship, it means something,” said Crow. “The best conference champions could then go on to determine the national champions. I think there’s a way to pull that off without playing too many games. We could also get the bowl games back to a traditional model of how they were, regional intersection games like the Rose Bowl and the Pac-12 and Big Ten playing each other. Then let the best conference champions play each other.”
A tournament style event means a tournament. A tournament. A college football tournament. I don’t care if it’s eight teams, if it’s four teams or if it’s 16 teams. Just do it. It makes too much sense. The only thing that doesn’t make since is the fact that somehow this hasn’t happened yet.
So, how do you qualify for the tournament in this proposal? You win your conference. In a four-team tournament, the four best conference champions would qualify. In an eight-team playoff, the eight best would qualify. If that means that the Sun Belt champion or the Mountain West champion doesn’t qualify for the “Small Dance” than so be it. And everyone should be forced to play a conference championship game at the end of the regular season. I don’t care if you have eight teams or 14. In this system everyone should be forced to play by the same rules.
One question that always arises with the talk of a playoff is, “What about the history of the bowl games?”.
The playoff doesn’t have to eliminate the Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl or even the Belk Bowl. You can still have those games. You can still have your GoDaddy.com Bowls and your BBVA Compass Bowls. Get two 6-6 teams and send them to Charlotte, NC to play a game. It won’t mean anything tournament-wise, but heck it will mean the exact same thing it meant before the playoff. A chance for fans to see their squad play one last time, some random city to make some tourist money, college football to make some sponsorship revenue, and a 6-6 gets to improve their record to above .500 and carry off some pointless trophy.
So the little bowls that no one cares about aren’t affected. What about the big guys?
There are two things you can do here. You can incorporate the BCS bowls into the playoff. If it’s an eight-team tournament than the first four games are the Orange, Suger, Rose and Fiesta. Now, these BCS bowls actually mean something. The winners move on to college football’s Final Four. If you don’t want to do it like that, you can do what Crow suggested above. For example, the Rose Bowl would again be affiliated with the Pac-12 and the Big Ten. If the Big Ten or Pac-12 champion qualifies for the “Small Dance” then they take the second place team in the conference.
This all makes too much sense for it not to happen. Now, collegiate athletic directors and presidents need to make this happen.
This year was a joke. Not because the game was awful. The game can be awful in any format. This year was a joke because you had a team win a national championship that didn’t even win their conference championship in a supposive system that uses the regular season as a playoff. If the regular season is your playoff then it would be impossible for a team like Alabama to win it all. I’m not saying Alabama didn’t deserve the championship or that they weren’t the best team. I’m saying that in this current system, if it worked as all of the pundits say it should, a team that didn’t win their conference championship shouldn’t be able to win it all.
I have been begging for a college football playoff for half of my life. College football fans have been griping about the BCS since it began. It’s time for college football to wake up and finish their season with a playoff like the other 89 collegiate sports. Heck, it’s been time.
To read more on the NCAA convention in Indy, click here. (Courtesy of CBSSports.com)
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