Before the BCS pairings were even announced yesterday I heard people talking about how this year should be conclusive evidence that we need to have a playoff for the National Championship in NCAA Football. I disagree. I think that Mike Lopresti got it right (again):
So ends an entirely captivating, wildly absorbing, deliciously unpredictable college football regular season. And now at the finish, what do we see?
Controversy. Mayhem. Protests.
Ain’t it great?
Here comes the BCS bashing, clanging like cymbals in a band, guaranteeing peace in our time — if only there could be a playoff.
Yeah, right. Put eight teams in a playoff. One would have to be Georgia, of course. Hottest team at the end, and all that.
Now go tell that to Tennessee, who won the division that Georgia could not, and beat the Bulldogs head-to-head by three touchdowns. And what about Hawaii? You going to have eight teams in a playoff and leave out the only team in the land with a 12-0 record? Or 11-1 Kansas? Or Missouri, which somehow fell from No. 1 to the Cotton Bowl in 24 hours? Just a few of many dilemmas.
The howls can be heard, though, now that the bowl pairings are out.
THE SYSTEM DIDN’T GET IT RIGHT!
No it didn’t, because there is no right answer. Not for the BCS. Not for a playoff. Someone will always feel shafted. Someone will always have another case to make. There will always be politicking, because if you need two teams, you can’t pick three. And if you need eight, you can’t choose nine.
He missed one thing there – college athletes are not professionals. I know, they work as hard as the professionals (perhaps harder) but thankfully they are still expected to be students and do more than take the field for our entertainment. The fact that we have an imperfect BCS system means that we as fans get to participate in a much more animated discussion surrounding what is happening, right or wrong, in college football. The fact that we don’t have a fool-proof way to declare a champion every year might serve to remind us that there is more to life than sports – no matter how entertaining those sports may be.
Let’s not ruin that by throwing together an imperfect playoff system that would concentrate more money in the big name leagues than we already have and give us the false sense that we really were getting the right champion every time. We’ll never be able to get a football playoff large enough (like the 65-team March Madness) so that the schools at the bottom of the pool will prove each year that while they might surprise us they still never win it all. Each time the lowest seeded team wins we have to wonder why not number 9, or 17, or 66?
Let’s just admit that the system is imperfect but the goal is entertainment, not clarity.