Now that the Ohio State Buckeyes have found their way back from the woodshed and the college football season has been put to bed, maybe it's time to take a look at the game and what needs to be fixed. In short, nothing.
Sure, everyone who's anyone -- even the national champions' head coach Urban Meyer -- is shouting for a playoff system, but I don't buy it. The arguments are numerous, and unless your glasses are thicker than Joe Paterno's, you've read them all enough times to recite them by memory. Here they are in a nutshell:
1. Settle it on the field!
Wait a minute, isn't it already settled on the field? What exactly did I watch the other night?
2. If it's good enough for Division II, Division III...
Do you wanna guess how many Division II football playoff games I've watched? Well, I've watched about a million bowl games.
3. But the NCAA basketball tournament is the best two weeks in sports
Well, an NCAA football tournament -- with, say, four rounds and ten teams -- would be like the Bataan Death March. The last team standing might literally be the last team standing.
4. A playoff system is the only fair way
Really? Tell that to the eleventh ranked team. There will always be someone to complain.
5. Computers can't identify the best team
Heading into the BCS Championship game, the computers, the coaches, the writers, and the Daughters of the American Revolution all agreed that Ohio State was the best team in the land. Turns out none of them could identify the best team.
The bottom line is this -- the BCS system is fine. Loyal readers might remember that I've blasted the BCS in the past, but now I see it as the perfect compromise between the unbending bowl system and the fool's gold of a playoff system. Last year's game of the century between Texas and USC, for instance, would've been impossible without it.
This year's game of the century, a Fiesta Bowl that reminded everyone of games played beneath streetlights with each participant dreading his mother's inevitable call for dinner. When Boise State unleashed their perfect storm of trick plays, they did so knowing that even if they won, there would be no tomorrow. The finality of the Fiesta Bowl gave the Boise coaches the freedom to pull everything out of the hat. More importantly, imagine if that game had only been a national semi-final. Do you really think Ian Johnson would've asked his girl to marry him if he had to get ready to play USC the next week?
Speaking of the Trojans, USC is the perfect advertisement for the college game. As the NFL continues to eat its head coaches with Kobayashi-like efficiency, the sport's most eligible coach doesn't seem interested. Pete Carroll, the mastermind behind this current Trojan Dynasty, has seen his name bounced around from Arizona to Miami in connection with numerous NFL job openings and enormous piles of money.
But Carroll isn't going anywhere. Whether he's bringing Will Ferrell in to liven up a summer film session or concocting a Halloween prank in which his star running back appears to be thrown from a building, Carroll surely knows that the fun would end if he were to make the jump to the NFL. (He's been there before, afterall.) And when his Trojans were celebrating their decisive win over Michigan in last week's Rose Bowl, there was Coach Carroll, running around the field like a 20-year-old, jumping on his players, imploring them to enjoy every minute -- whether they were national champions or not. (By the way, you can write this down right now: the Trojans will be national champions next year.)
The college game is fine without a playoff system, trust me. There will always be a Leprechaun dancing in South Bend, a bulldog named Uga growling on the Georgia sidelines, and an embarrassing group of drunks masquerading as a marching band in Palo Alto. Business as usual.