Oct 25

What It Would Take

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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We need a playoff, and we need it now.  Nobody dislikes the BCS more than I do. The system is just plain weird. Quite frankly, I have never really been able to figure it out. It was supposed to be the answer to college football's problem and all it has done is make the sport look stupid by having computers and polls determine our champion. This year, the BCS is on a crash-course with ultimate failure, and nobody is hoping for that more than me. If the stars align, six teams could have a claim for the two BCS title spots, and that would create serious, serious discussion.

I am not writing this because I love to throw around the word "playoff." I am writing it rather, because I truly love college football, and at the top level of my favorite sport, we have the dumbest system ever concocted to determine who our annual champion is. On top of that, instead of having about 30 teams battling for a number of playoff spots this time of year (my choice is 8 or 16 playoff spots), we just have a group at the top wondering if they will be the one left out come January, not even getting a chance to play for it all.

Right now there are six teams that could possibly end the season unbeaten, setting up a mess for the BCS. Here is what it would take to create a huge mess.

 * The SEC Champion - Either Florida or Alabama would present an undefeated team, and almost certainly guarantee themselves a spot in the BCS title game. Remaining games for Florida are Georgia, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, FIU, Florida State, SECCG. For Alabama: LSU, at Missisippi State, Chatanooga, at Auburn, SECCG.

* Texas - If the Horns win out, they would most-likely be the team to play the SEC champion for the Crystal football. For Texas to make it, here is who they have left to beat: at Oklahoma State, UCF, at Baylor, Kansas, at Texas A&M, Big 12 Title game. And thus the debate begins amongst the following teams....

* Cincinnati - A huge season includes a high powered offense averaging over 40 ppg. Here is who the Bearcats have left: at Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia, Illinois, at Pittsburgh.

* TCU - The Horned Frogs can play with anybody, why shouldn't they get a shot? TCU's remaining schedule: UNLV, at San Diego State, Utah, at Wyoming, New Mexico.

* Iowa - If they win out, Iowa, as the Big Ten champion, could be on the outside looking in. What's left for the Hawkeyes to have a say: Indiana, Northwestern, at Ohio State, Minnesota.

* Boise State - Sure, we all know the schedule could use a workout, but hey, they beat who they play. If they win 'em all, why stop there? San Jose State, at Louisiana Tech, Idaho, at Utah State, Nevada, at New Mexico State.

Folks, that is six teams that would each have an argument for two spots. We haven't gotten to who the one-loss teams would be, and you can't tell me the following aren't national championship caliber teams.

* The SEC title game loser - This is assuming that Alabama and Florida enter as unbeatens. How can you go through a season this long undefeated and be out of the national title picture by losing a conference title game?

* Oregon or USC - These two teams meet this weekend, and the winner will still have to have luck to get a shot.

* LSU - A nasty defense. There lone loss would be to the defending champion and current number one Florida. If a playoff system were in place, they would still be alive. With the current system, they were eliminated in week five.

* Penn State - The Lions just smashed Michigan on the road, 35-10. They have won four straight, with their only loss coming to number four Iowa.

* Georgia Tech - If they win out, they can only climb to about number six as it is just so dang cluttered at the top. Not sure if this is a national title caliber team, but then again, only Miami has solved Paul Johnson's scheme this year.

* Oklahoma State - An early loss to Houston is the only scar on their slate. This team will have to play Texas at some point, so they might not belong in this list. But then again,if they were to beat Texas, how do they not get a shot at a crystal football?

* Houston - Out of no where come the Houston Cougars. Who knows how they would do in a playoff, but you have to admit you would watch them try. With a loss to UTEP, Houston has basically zero chance to play for all of it.

The sad truth is that in this list of one-loss teams above, bascally none of them have a super realistic shot at the national title. Are they alive? Yes. But will they have a chance to prove themselves on the field? Probably not. And over a 14 week grueling schedule, one loss should be totally permissible. Even the best of the best teams have strange things happen, and by not having the teams above be able to play it out, we are selling ourselves short as witnesses to great action.

The Bowl Argument. Listen, I'm as old-fashioned about some things as anybody that has ever lived. But there comes a time when you realize you have to at least tweek something that is past its day. The bowls are fun, and they are festive, ane they are traditional. But lately there are too dang many, anyway. You have bowls now that are named after restaurants and tire companies. Where is the prestige in that? So you take the good bowls - the ones that have withstood the test of time - and you incorporate them into the playoff (ok, you take the ones with the fattest checks, too). The bowls don't have to go away - they simply need to adapt themselves.

This wishful thinking of mine could al fall apart, but I think at least a good bit of it will come to fruition. With any luck at all, we will have a huge mess at the end of this season, and the playoff talk will heat up. Yeah, it gets old listening to it. But in the end, we need it. And the only way we are going to get it is for public outcry to be strong enough. Like anything else, it is all about the money, and when the public really wants something, that is usually where the money lies.

Finally, as I mentioned above, it is about the excitement of the game. Right now as I type this, there are only a handful of teams alive for a national championship that is surely going to be debated. Why not have a playoff of 8 or 16 teams that would have 20 or 30 teams excited out of their minds right now at the chance of qualifying? This is almost too easy to figure out, why isn't it happening?

Stay tuned....


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