So Many Teams, So Few National Championship Games
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As I watched college football all day (and I mean all day) yesterday, I couldn't believe the amount of talent at the top of the polls. Top 10-team after top-10 team kept impressing me with big plays and hard tackles. As I watched, I just kept on wondering how college football can stick with the post-season set-up it currently goes with. For some reason, the word "playoff" isn't found in the college football dictionary. When the word comes up, college football leaders act as if installing a playoff would rival telling the masses that the world isn't flat. But the fact is we don't have one, and several of these entertaining and very talented top teams are going to be left out of the national title picture. As fun as it is to watch the teams play, the system to find our champ is truly a shame.
As the season unwinds, and we try to figure out which two programs will receive the invite to the 2009 BCS NCG (BCS National Championship Game) in Miami, it is obvious once more that a new system of crowning our champion is needed. The answer is to implement into college football a playoff similar to that of nearly every team-sport on the planet. In this system, you play games until you lose or win-it-all....it's a very simple idea. An 8 team playoff is the answer. The name possibilties are endless; The Great 8, The Elite 8, The College Football Championship Tournament, The whatever...All I know is that whether or not my team made it, I wouldn't miss a single play of any of those 7 games. I'm betting the ratings would break records. You take your 6 major conference champs, you add two at-large teams. Play ball.
With my dip into wonderland now out of the way, let's get to the purpose of this article and find out what it will take to see this year's edition of the BCS NCG come to fruition. These days, it is almost a certainty that the participants in the National Championship Game are going to have a loss. Shoot, last year we saw a team in the NCG with two losses (LSU). Right now we have many teams undefeated, and many teams with one loss. By season's end, this will work itself out to a point. But when you play 13 or 14 games, even the top teams may have more than one loss.
The Tide Nation of Alabama and the Horn Nation of Texas are set-up for devistation right now. While cruising through tough slates so far undefeated, and really not playing a bad game yet, UA and UT have several losable games remaining. I feel they are as deserving as anyone, so far, to make Miami, but lose just one of these games this late in the season, and it will be tough to climb back into the hunt. College football is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of sport, and I just hope Alabama and Texas aren't left out with one loss. LSU's awesome performance in the BCS NCG a year ago, with two losses, will allow hope for a title-game appearance by any team if ranked in the top 5 late in the season.
Here are the top teams and what I see playing out:
Big 12 Situation - Texas and Texas Tech will battle this coming weekend and we will know a lot more about what is going to go down in the Big-12 after that game. And it really is the winner of that game that will have the big impact on the national scene. But what if Texas Tech wins this one and also wins the Big-12 Title game? As a national number 4, could they make the BCS NCG? Texas, a national 1, is virtually a lock to do so if they won both of those games - would TTU doing the same thing not grant them that same privelige?...You catch my drift?....
SEC Situation - Alabama is the only guaranteed SEC qualifier by winning out. Like Texas, winning out would almost certainly put them in Miami on January 9. However, that won't be easy. Alabama hasn't beaten Auburn in 6 years, and they are on the schedule along with a trip to LSU. Florida and Georgia play Saturday to basically decide who will win the SEC East and remain with an outside shot at the BCS NCG. If an Alabama vs UF/UGA SEC Title game ends up happening, the winner will have a very realistic shot at the national title game (assuming Penn State and USC lose, if you are UF/UGA).
Penn State - PSU would need either Alabama or Texas to lose. Period. And they may get their wish. Both teams have a tough final 4 weeks, while the Lions just passed their hardest test last night, winning on the road at Ohio State (which officially eliminates the Buckeyes from NCG contention, thank goodness!). The Lions are putting together a great season, but will need a tiny bit of help to make it.
Southern Cal - Though a very explosive and exciting team, the Trojans lost focus at Oregon State, and with really no chance to beat top-ranked teams in a weak Pac-10, haven't been able to break the top 4. They would need Texas and Alabama to lose, and would have to win very large in their final 5 games. This team is capable of beating anyone, but they may not get that chance in 2008. Then again, there are a lot of games left to be played.
Non-BCSers - I just wish we didnt have to go here. Get me a playoff, then we can. This year I can think of ten teams, easy, that I would like to see in the mix before we even consider non-BCSers for the national championship...some team like Florida or Oklahoma or Texas Tech will be left out of the BCS NCG while Utah gets in? Please.
Big-East/ACC not in the mix again - The Big East had a good chance to send a representative last year to the BCS NCG, but then West Virginia choked to Pitt in the final weekend and didn't make it. So while these two leagues go back and forth at one another about who got the better of the league shake-ups back in 2005, neither conference has had a team in the national title game. Florida State, VT and Miami, the three ACC programs most used to national attention, have not been a factor in the national title race in years.
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