Saturday, August 5, 2006

What is to be done?

In summary, if the goal is to turn the Mythical National Championship into a True National Championship, here’s the major areas of problems the proposed system must solve:

1) The issue of fairness. Even though the current system is thought by many to be wildly unfair, that doesn’t mean that the change to another system would automatically make the post-season more fair. Any solution will have to be accepted as fair by most of the parties involved.

2) The issue of tradition. Even though the D.I-A post-season has gone through some major changes, for the most part traditions have been kept intact. Any solution will have to minimize deviating from traditions.

3) The issue of money. Even though there is a lot of money to be made by changing the post-season, any solution will have to be able to almost guarantee financial success for the important parties involved.

As you might have guessed, I’m not in favor of any type of single elimination playoff for D.I-A college football. I firmly believe that a single-elimination playoff is unbalanced, putting way too much emphasis on the post-season and not enough on the whole season. But I also believe that a playoff works for the majority of other NCAA and professional sports, both because they can set their playoff up fairly and because it’s tradition for them. This isn’t the case for D.I-A college football. It’s a unique sport because it does not have a playoff, but I see this as a positive rather than a negative.

Not having a playoff means that in the years when we’re actually able to agree and crown a true national champion it’s worth a great deal more than being named “playoff champion” in other sports. We’re able to rise above the inherent flaws of a playoff and say adamantly that Texas was undoubtedly the best team in during the whole 2005 season, or that Oklahoma was undoubtedly the best team during the whole 2000 season. Other sports are unable to make such as claim simply because they have a playoff and their regular seasons don’t count as much. One team might dominate the regular season while another does well down the stretch and wins the playoff. It happens all the time, and it's hardly a pure championship.

The way college football is set up right now, every teams' season hangs in the balance during 60 minutes every Saturday. Every single game matters. It’s a tradition we shouldn’t be willing to trade anything for.

Money < Top > Defining a Champion

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