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Long and winding college football road
January 10, 2011 - Steve Murch
Tonight is the night college football fans have waited for — for the most part. Auburn and Oregon bring the season to a climax with the BCS title game. Most fans believe the system that crowns a national champion is flawed, but that's only half the problem.
It's been over a month since the game was announced so the outcome, to a degree is anti-climatic because some fans might be long gone. Because some discussion on the game has happened every day on the big game, some fans likely have BCS title game burnout. Heck, it's been a week since the traditional ending of the college season — New Year's Day.
Too many teams play in the postseason, schools lose money on the bowl games, etc. The cons have gotten to the point where they outweigh the pros.
Much has been discussed and written about the whole process of crowning a champion, so I won't rehash that debate. But the whole bowl system has contributed to the looonnnnggggg season. A national playoff would do one great thing – eliminate some of the teams in the bowl games that don't deserve to be there. There are 35 bowls (way too many), so 70 teams have to play. Never mind that most teams lose money to play in the bowls, the bowls themselves make money so they're not going to agree to anything.
Teams that can finish with a losing record shouldn't be in a bowl game, meaning if you have a 6-6 record you stay home because a lose means a 6-7 record. Thirteen teams had 6-6 records at the end of the regular season, went to a bowl game — and some of them lost the bowl game. Wins against FCS teams (formerly Division I-AA) shouldn't count toward a win total of qualifying for a bowl. Those two criteria alone would eliminate some teams from bowl consideration.
The biggest way to make the process relevant and drop teams is to incorporate the bowls into the playoff system. If 15 of the games are used for a playoff system, that still leaves 20 games to be filled. By eliminating the 13 teams that could have had a potential losing record this year and the 16 teams a tournament could take, that leaves one team to be trimmed from those that played in bowls this year. You still have 56 teams playing in bowls — still more than half the teams in Division I-A, or the FBS.
There wouldn't be burnout from talking incessantly about one game, there would be intrigue in which teams would make it, the smaller bowls would have better matchups, AND we'd have a true national champion. At some point something has to happen.
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