The National Championship Game
// January 7th, 2009 // Uncategorized
Now, I know that the International Bowl has already been decided, so really there is no other game of importance on, but in case you have nothing to do Thursday night there also happens to be the National Championship Game on. Two relative unknowns are battling for the BCS crown. Florida and Oklahoma (I know, I never heard of them either).
The story line for this game is less than compelling: Last year’s Heisman winner (and current candidate for Sainthood) Tim Tebow versus current trophy winner, Sam Bradford.
I know, I know. I feel the same way: When Pitt lost 3 -0 to Oregon State, I knew the bowl season had reached its pinnacle. This shootout was a start to finish adrenaline rush, starting with Oregon being penalized a time out for (get this) wearing the wrong uniforms. Apparently the referees felt that orange was SOOOO last season.
But, I digress.
The national championship. Believe it or not this has actually already been played. Did I hop in my Delorean and fire up the Flux Capacitor? No (but I do have a sweet pair of acid-wash jeans if you’re interested). So what do I mean by all this? Utah should have been crowned the BCS title winner. They went 13-0, not beating slap dicks like Hofstra and Temple (Sorry, UConn) but playing top (ranked) talent like Alabama and those crazy Mormons at BYU. They didn’t back their way into playing in college football’s ultimate showcase. They went 13-0. End of story. Check please. Be sure to tip your waitress.
The only thing Utah did wrong this year was not being a member of a BCS conference. Here’s a news flash: being bestowed the “honor” of a BCS conference doesn’t mean anything anymore. These so called “mid majors” are anything but. The influx of money and the limitations on scholarships has meant one thing for major college football: Parity. I don’t care if you are BYU, USC, Alabama, or Buffalo. All these teams are competitive. Point in case: The 12th ranked and undefeated Ball State Cardinals fell to the University of Buffalo (bowl eligible for the first time in 50 years) in the MAC Championship game. Buffalo then lost to UConn in bowl play. Did UConn win because it’s a member of the Big East? No. But getting ranked would have been easier because they are. Listen to me. I played. Beating Temple was just as hard as trying to take down West Virginia. In 2007 we beat South Florida (ranked as high as #2 that year), and that game was easier than dismantling Rutgers, who had NFL-bound Ray Rice at the helm. My point is this: Rankings and the BCS system are completely arbitrary. The best team is not in the National Championship game. The big money being thrown around means that a more marketable team like Florida finds its way playing this Thursday while Utah finds itself shit out of luck. It’s no longer about the two best teams, its about the perceived best game. What viewers want. Apparently, that is two sub-par teams competing on college football’s grandest stage. The National Championship is supposed to be an all encompassing game, widdled down from all 119 teams to two who will slug it out on live TV. Instead, the BCS system makers decided that only 66 schools are worthy of their blessing.
The system is dead. And flawed.
How do I solve it? a 16 team play off. The rest of the field can go play in bowl games. I like that reward system. All other bowl eligible teams should do so. Playing in a bowl is a privilege and an incredible experience, lets reward teams that are able to win 7+ games (no more of this 6 and 6 and Notre Dame playing Hawaii crap). Now how do we get those 16 teams? The obvious answer is the Top 16 ranked in the Coaches Poll. But honestly, 119 names in a bag an picking 16 would be better than what we have now. My suggestion? The best regular season records, after that best records determined by strength of schedule. A tie? Have a playoff. This is America people, let the best man win.
The current BCS system is about as smart as a bag of hammers. I don’t advocate for a total play off system, but I do advocate for a system that gives us a true national champion. So show me one where Utah would have been playing on Thursday night. Until then, I simply don’t care.