Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Final Thoughts on the Bowl Games

1) As a Big Ten fan, I was disappointed to see both Michigan and Ohio State get crushed in their respective bowl games. Any argument Michigan had about deserving to be in the title game went up in smoke. As for Ohio State, that was not the same team I saw play all season. I don't know if it was the 51 day layoff or what, but they were terrible. Give Florida credit for how they played because they were outstanding (and Zook credit for recruiting the players there), but Ohio State was a better team than they showed on Monday night.

2) The Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl game was the best bowl game of the year and certainly one of the top ones I have ever seen (along with Ohio State-Miami a few years ago and USC-Texas last year).

3) NOTRE DAME SHOULD NEVER AGAIN BE AWARED A BCS BOWL GAME. Okay, perhaps that is a little harsh and a bit overboard but this is getting ridiculous. They have lost nine straight bowl games overall and have been blown out in BCS bowl games the past two years. The Golden Domers are overmatched and are taking up a slot that should go to another deserving school.

Their record this year was inflated thanks to a number of easy games--in games against ranked teams such as USC and Michigan, they were blown out. And they barely squeaked by Georgia Tech, Michigan State, and UCLA. I know football schedules are set years in advance and you don't know which schools are going to be up or down that far out, but warning signs were abundant throughout the season that this Notre Dame team (and last year's too) were overrated. The special treatment Notre Dame receives in the BCS system is undeserved and is an example of just one of the many problems with how the BCS is currently structured.

4) It is time for a college football playoff. I know there are legitimate arguments both for and against this, but if you want to crown a true national champion, I think that is the only way you can do it. Go back to having four BCS games (which would be quarterfinals and occur on January 1st), then have two games a week later (the semifinals), and then have the championship game a week after that. This would only extend the season by a week and (in most cases) all of the games would occur prior to the players beginning spring semester classes. In terms of teams playing more games, four teams would play one extra game (semifinals), and two teams would play two extra games (championship).

There are some other issues that would need to be addressed, such as conferences that have championship games vs. ones that don't. Also, the BCS selection system would need to be tweaked to make sure that a team from a non-BCS conference, such as Boise State this year, had a fair and equal opportunity to participate in a BCS game. I don't think that opportunity would have been there this year if the BCS had not added a 5th BCS Bowl game (which in my suggestion above would be eliminated). Maybe one team from a non-BCS conference should be guaranteed a spot if they are undefeated (and/or some other requirements are met). Boise State certainly showed they deserved to be there this year, just as Utah showed they deserved to be there a couple of years ago.

The point is there is a way to make a playoff work if there is the will to do it. I know some people will argue that this devalues the regular season or that there will always be a deserving team left out. Maybe there is some truth to those arguments but I think the excitement of the playoff will justify some of the other impacts that may occur and, in the end, you will have a true national champion.

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