College Bowl Blues

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If Monday night’s so-called BCS championship game left you wanting more, rest assured, you are not alone. As Alabama quickly proved Notre Dame had no business playing for the national title, causing my Irish alum wife to squirm on the couch, it became very apparent to yours truly that college football is even more broken than I had first feared, and nothing short of an actual playoff will save it.

I hate to kick a team when they are down, but does anyone out there still believe that the Irish were the best (they did come into the game ranked No. 1) or even the second-best team in the country? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I don’t see any way they could have beaten Oregon, or for that matter, a host of other SEC teams (let’s start with LSU and Georgia). And while we’re talking SEC teams, what about Texas A&M? They handily defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa, so I’m guessing they could have whipped Notre Dame had they been given the chance.

And this, dear readers, if why I can no longer just sit back and accept college football and all of it’s horrible flaws. I’m fine with the game on a week-to-week basis. You get a lot of fun match-ups, great traditional rivalries, and a lot of people who like to talk about how wonderful the ‘pageantry’ of the games and the schools, the stadiums, the bands and the people can be. I understand all that. (I still consider the product on the field horribly inferior to the NFL but what can I say? I like my sports and entertainment to be at the highest possible level, but that’s just me.) What I don’t understand is why people happily take the meager portions handed out by the NCAA when it comes to determining their champion, and then walk away smiling like they’ve just been treated to a Las Vegas-style all-you-can-eat buffet.

I said in an earlier column that the NCAA agreeing to have a four-team playoff in another year is a step in the right direction, and it certainly would have been enough to expose Notre Dame this year. My guess is the Irish would have fallen in the semi-final round of said format and, perhaps, we would have been treated to a decent national title game. But this four-team playoff is not enough! It would have left out a team like A&M, a team who lost two very close games early in the season, and a team who defeated the eventual national champion. It seems to me like the Aggies probably deserved a shot at beating Alabama again, same as Oregon, those other SEC teams and probably even Kansas State (although their bowl performance leads me to believe they might be a bit overrated themselves). But with a four-team playoff, they would have been excluded, which is why the NCAA needs an 8 or preferably a 16-team playoff to determine their champion.

Sadly, none of my ranting, or the ranting of anyone else is going to change the way the NCAA works. The people who govern college sports do as they please, and treat their fans as an afterthought. Unfortunately, as long as people from Tallahassee to Spokane show up by the tens of thousands every week to drink in the parking lots surrounding these schools before eventually filing in to cheer on their favorite team, the NCAA will continue to do whatever it wants and people will smile and accept that that is the way of things. And I guess that’s okay for some, but it’s not okay for me. I’m not going on record and saying I’m completely washing my hands of college football, but the soap has been applied and the water is turned on. What happens next is anybody’s guess. Maybe I should get the BCS computer and a couple of pollsters to decide …