College Football Can't Get It Right
Recently I watched a 30 for 30 detailing the 1969 Texas-Arkansas game, and how the winner was ceremoniously ordained the college football national champions.
At one point, they crowed about how inefficient the system had been in 1969, inferring that today’s system is superior to that prehistoric time in college football.
While I agree that the system used back in the day wasn’t right, I can’t back what’s going on now. The reigning system remains the only ambiguous crown in college sports, leaving players and coaches scratching their heads trying to figure out what criteria matters for inclusion in the playoffs.
Let’s see, you must win and you must hope that the playoff committee believes you’re more attractive than other candidates. Created in the process is a system that has the mentality of: “Well, such and such team might have lost, but they’re better than so-and-so, who is undefeated." Because, "The eye test tells us so.”
Consider what might have happened had Florida beaten Alabama in the SEC championship game. The committee would likely have bumped Notre Dame from the top four and moved Florida--the SEC champion--into the equation. And their reward for beating Alabama in the big game would have been having to play Alabama again in the playoffs.
And what about Cincinnati? They went undefeated, playing against three offenses ranked in the Top 25 nationally along the way, but they get no consideration. Go back to the eye test. The committee would say simply that Cincinnati wouldn't do well against an Alabama. How would we ever know if they don't get the chance? Instead, Notre Dame, after getting waxed by Clemson, gets the fourth spot. No sitting at the big boy table, Bearcats!
Don’t think brand doesn’t matter.
It’s ludicrous, particularly when there’s a simple fix: Let the teams decide the championship by playing for it.
A six-team playoff needs to be created. Under this system, each of the five power conferences crown a champion, and the rest of the teams in those conferences are eliminated. That leaves one team to be added at large from the remaining teams. The decision on that at-large team would be made by the committee. In addition, the committee would slot the six teams as the top two teams would receive byes.
Makes too much sense, right?
Sadly, the fates of what teams get to play for the championship will continue to be decided by a group of people sitting in a room talking about strength of schedule, the eye test, and margins of victory rather than having the actual teams battle in the trenches for those coveted spots.
I love college football, but it could be so much better.
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