Big time college football has always been one of my favorite sporting events to watch on television. There are few things in sports that match the excitement of a big match up between rival schools, especially if both teams are having successful seasons and are highly rated in the rankings. The huge crowds, the students, bands and cheerleaders make the atmosphere of a college setting second to none. It is what sports should be all about. But having said that, it has a totally ridiculous system of determining the season ending national championship and the officials of the NCAA and BCS should be called out for their foolishness and stubbornness for failing to change their system and not include a season ending playoff system.
Under the current system, teams are essentially ranked by a computer system which factors many different variables into a long drawn out formula. It is about as complicated as some of my advanced math classes that I took in college. At the end of the season, the top 2 teams in the rankings play for the national championship and the rest of the squads get to play in several, very meaningless bowl games. The worst part about the current system is that it penalizes teams for late season losses. Let’s say team A is having an undefeated season and is ranked number 1 in the country. Then on their last game of the year, they get upset and there goes their shot at a national championship. Now let’s take team B, who suffers their only loss of the season in their opener, but they have remained undefeated ever since and suddenly, on the last week of the season, they get the number 1 or 2 seed over team A, who will probably drop out of the top 2 spots and not get a shot at the title. So if your team suffers only one loss, it is better to lose right away since you have more time to work back up in the standings. To me, that is an extremely bad way of determining who will eventually play in the championship game.
A simple way to solve this mess is to have a 16 team playoff system. Now I know that no playoff system will be perfect and some very well deserving teams will get left out. But I feel that having 16 teams play for the championship will include enough bona fide championship contending teams. After the first 16 teams are picked, you could pick another 16 teams and they could play for another tournament similar to the NIT in basketball. That way, ESPN could have more games to cover and some of those bowl venues, who will be losing their bowl games, could still get a shot at hosting a regional game.
For most college teams, the season is over just before Thanksgiving weekend or on Thanksgiving weekend. Between Thanksgiving weekend and New Year’s you have a window of about 5 weeks during which the tournament could take place. On New Year’s day, the national championship could take place every year at the Rose Bowl or Orange Bowl. And the semi’s could take on Christmas Day. Imagine the excitement and television ratings that would produce! College football is just continuing to shoot themselves in the foot with this silly format. Hey sports fans, wouldn’t it be nice to have a national championship game to look forward to watching on New Year’s Day instead of some stupid outdoor hockey game?