Like a lot of other college football fans I am so excited to see the first major Division IA championship that will be determined actually on the field as opposed to opinion and voters.
Most of us know without a doubt that without this four team playoff format implemented this year, we would very likely be seeing a BCS game between Alabama of the SEC and Florida State of the ACC. That there has been an outright bias towards the SEC is undeniable, despite the fact that most of the SEC teams rarely play any major non-conference opponents in their early schedules, usually playing softer, even Division I AA teams early in the year before playing each other the rest of the time.
But the voters and the media were in love with the SEC so it was assumed they were men and the rest of college football consisted of boys. Well, now we see that when the championship has to be decided on the field, we have a PAC-12 and a Big 10 matchup. No SEC. How interesting and justified. Actual play beats hype. Isn’t that what most college football fans have been saying for years as we waited for a playoff to determine a champion?
I have no idea why it took so long for major college football to get to a playoff, considering every other sport in the NCAA has a playoff or tournament to determine its champion. The argument about big time football was that it would take too long to get through rounds and since football is not like basketball, being a much more physical sport, athletes would be subject to too much risk of injury with those extended games.
Hogwash. Then shorten the regular season with the non-conference games. And besides, the lower levels in college football have decided their champion on the field for many years and there has been no scheduling problem or rash of injuries.
So this four team playoff has been great. And the ratings seem to indicate the public loves it. Of course we do. My only problem with this new playoff system is that it does not go far enough. It is still somewhat of a hybrid, as the four teams are picked by a selection committee. So we are still dealing with controversy and human bias in determining who makes the final four, to borrow a basketball reference. TCU and Baylor, for example, certainly deserved a shot at proving they are better than any of the four teams that made the playoff.
The solution is quite simple. Establish a playoff where the winners of the big six conferences play against each other, and allow two independent at large invites, which will cover the possibility of a Notre Dame or a conference team that is still deserving. At worst we are talking about extending the playoffs for one additional week, as eight teams would narrow to four in that one additional weekend. But then there would be no debating bias or voting. Win your conference, which is of course done on the field during the season, and you get to a chance to prove yourself against the best from the other conferences.
Is it just me or does this sound extremely simple?
So I will excitedly be watching on Monday night to see this first on-field champion determined. And I know this is an improvement over what we had. But I also can’t help but wonder: would these two teams be playing if certain other conference winners had gotten a shot to play them?
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