Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What's Wrong With College Football

1. Pre-season rankings. How do you know a team is number 1 this year if they lost half of their team to the NFL at the end of last season and half of their current starters are freshman? I know they do it in college basketball too but in college basketball their postseason success isn't determined by their ranking. Which brings us to....

2. The BCS and bowl game system in general. So explain to me why its good for college football for mediocre teams from big conferences to play in 30 meaningless bowl games rather than to use some of those same games for a playoff? I went to a Big Ten school and I think that automatically giving the Big Ten and other big conference schools a place in bowl games without any consideration for how good other teams are is ridiculous. We will never know which team is the best because if you aren't in a big conference then you can never be a national champion. If you don't have some human selection committee, like they do in college basketball,in addition to the polls then college football will never get it right. Strength of schedule, AP and USA today polls with input from biased coaches and sports writers and other strange statistics that play into the BSC formula are not an accurate assessment of which teams are the best. Lets be honest, the bowl system rewards big time schools with big time money (that they really don't need) and the bowl games in no way reward the most gifted teams. People don't get excited about post season college football the way they do about college basketball and March Madness and they never will unless something changes.

My proposal would be a 12 team playoff. The top 8 teams in the BCS get an automatic bid into the postseason (I don't think we'll ever get rid of the BCS completely). Then a panel of experts selects 4 at large teams to also be in the series. The top four teams in the BCS get an automatic bye and do not have to play the first week. The #5-#8 teams in the BCS play against the 4 at large teams. The four winners of those games face off against the #1-#4 teams in the BCS in the second week of the playoffs. Then the third weekend you have the final four teams face off to determine who will play in the national championship game which would be played a week later. The 4 bowl games that host these playoff games and the national championship would rotate every year with a pool of tickets set aside for the home teams to buy once they are determined. The teams that are in this pool would be announced the last week of the college football season which is typically around Thanksgiving. These teams would be out of eligibility for other bowl games which could still honor the conference ties that they currently have. We already know that the results of most of the 30 bowl games are meaningless so lets not pretend like they are anything more than an exhibition game in a really cool location and and excuse to take a vacation on your university's dime.

3. Crappy non-conference schedule. This is a personal gripe but its not just my team that has this problem. As a Penn State alumni and proud football fan, I am sick of the 4 cupcake teams that have been on our schedule every year since my freshman year in 1994 and I'm sure many years before that. Why is everyone surprised when we lost to Iowa last weekend when we were tested by the likes of Akron, Temple and Syracuse in the previous weeks? And really, was anyone surprised when USC beat the crap out of us in the bowl game last year? We don't play teams of that caliber on a regular basis so why should we expect to be able to hold our own against them? Our opponents in previous years have included such football powerhouses as Rutgers and Coastal Carolina. Virginia Tech played Alabama as a non-conference game for their first game of the season. Yes, they lost that game but by playing against big time schools they have made their program better over the years. We will never win another championship unless we start to do this as well. We should have never been ranked #5 in the first place. If we would have gone undefeated this year and went into a national championship game ahead of Virginia Tech (who I hate with a passion) if their only loss was to Alabama, a much better team, I would have been pretty disgusted with the system.

I still love college football but it is in need of a serious overhaul.

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  1. We are from Wisconsin and are huge fans. I am not sure you could get that one past my husband.


  2. I'm not much of a football fan, I can understand html and how to put a modem in a puter but college schedules leave me cold. I do think there needs to be something done tho as you say most of the bowl games are just p ing in the wind.

  3. Perfectly said. I'm not a huge college football fan (kinda follow Notre Dame because the Weis family is from my hometown), but I'm a big sports fan so I have a peripheral knowledge. Voting has no place in football, first of all. And if a team like Florida is going to schedule a game against the University of Northern South Carolina at Myrtle Beach, well, Florida should have to play blindfolded or something.

    Great blog! Found you through Mr. Condescending.