It was really good to see college football get back into the swing of things, this past week. Of course, I told you it would be. While this past week didn't have a slew of great matchups, it made up for in quality what it lacked in quality. On the left coast, Joey Harrington did his billboard proud while leading a comeback against the hapless Trojans. Meanwhile up north Auburn learned that freshmen quarterbacks, even when they are phenoms, do have learning curves. And could there have been anything sweeter than seeing the upstanding and moral FSU program completely decimated by a 0-3 North Carolina team in baby blue? If we get nothing else this year, we at least got that.
But being thankful for the return of America's best sport got me to thinking again about what most worries me about its future: the knee-jerk, illogical insistence by the nation's "TV" fans that keep whining and crying about the need for "playoffs." While our current structure is safe for the near-term, the ill-informed masses pose a large threat for later, with their constant "venting" in public forums and polls creating the misconception that most true NCAA supporters want to mimic the NFL. I believe that, like in many things, there is a "silent majority" who, if presented with these alternate scenarios, would rise up in opposition. But if they wait until then, it may be too late. So, all fans who are capable of critical thinking, please keep in mind all of the following when you hear someone spouting off about how "we'll never know who's best without a playoff like our heroes in the NFL do..."
[Preface #1] Admit it isn't about "playing extra games" or burdens on players. The NCAA most definitely could logistically implement a playoff structure. They just don't need to, as explained below.
[Preface #2] Understand -- and this is key -- that the argument isn't about which one-or-more-loss teams deserve a chance at titles. Due to the limited schedules, undefeated seasons are the holy grail in college football. Only when a team has that 0 in the loss column does it have any right to complain about not getting a shot as a champion. Once a team suffers a loss, then they should be left to the fate of polls, computer rankings, etc. That's not being elitist, it's just being practical. Miami beats Florida State so they deserve an NC shot. But what about Washington, who beat them? And so on. That problem doesn't go away with playoffs; once you've had the one loss your claim to title games over other one-loss teams goes out the window, period.
[So....] Now -- real quick, name the last time more than two teams (who played adequate schedules) finished the season undefeated. Go ahead. What's that? You can't? Well, gee, I surely would have thought it happened a lot, since we "need" a playoff so bad, and we agree that teams with one loss don't have any justification to complain about being left out of championship games...
[And finally] Does anyone ever wonder why, since the BCS has been in place, there has been NO QUESTION as to the champion at the end of each season? That, at the end of each season, there has only been one team still undefeated? BECAUSE WE ALREADY HAVE A #%&*@ PLAYOFF!!! Every freaking game is a playoff. That is the beauty. That is what makes us unique. Why in the world would we want to do away with that? Without the current structure, talent-laden teams will inevitably "take off" games, because it won't matter if they lose one or two. Just like the regular season doesn't matter in college basketball, and thus why none of you watch it until March. The current approach demands perfection, and society shows that if we don't demand perfection, we don't get it. Each year now, the hand wringing goes on, with pontificators so sure that a national champion won't be clear in the end. But they always are. Tennessee whips their one-loss opponent. FSU beats the only other undefeated team. Oklahoma whips their one-loss opponent. Playoff accomplished, only one man standing.
It's simple: Until we have more than two teams (again that play adequate schedules) go undefeated over the course of a season, we don't have a problem. Once that happens (and the odds are unlikely that it does) then the current system can be re-visited. Otherwise, you already have your precious playoff. Tell me the flaw in that.