While working through the College Football Bowl Season, I have heard a commentator (or five) mention that the Associated Press does not have to vote for the winner of the BCS game if the AP members are more impressed with say, Southern California or Texas.
Then the college football season ended the first week of December and all of these bowls are nothing but a corporate football holiday. The purpose of the Bowl Championship Series is to provide the anointed Top 10 of the BCS a chance to play in the best games and the Top 2 play for the National Championship in the BCS National Championship game.
But if the AP awards a championship that differs from the BCS (and we all know it has happened before), then that championship carries as much weight as the one I award on behalf of The Gridiron Breakdown.
I get what message board fans mean when they use the phrase “mythical national championship” now more than ever. Granted this scenario is only possible if Florida beats Oklahoma is a less-than-convincing fashion. Then, enter in the discourse on why another team “deserves” a nod as national champions.
Let’s examine the reasoning for this for a moment. These maverick voters in the AP argue that it is not fair to hold an early season loss against a team like Southern California. After all, it was on the road, against a conference opponent, on an off night. Look at what they have done since. Well, what that team has done is destroy far inferior opponents and play close against a few better opponents.
Great work, congratulations on the season, and enjoy the Rose Bowl win. But if you do not play in the National Championship Game, you should not be rewarded with a National Championship Trophy. Sorry, that is just the way the system is set.
I have listened to the talking heads of college football talk about all kinds of plus-one, bowl division, bracket systems that take a minor in Calculus to understand. The fundamental issue is never really addressed. The media and a set of computer calculations elect a National Champion. Even in the most positive way of looking at it, these entities elect for two teams to play in the deciding game of a championship. That is nothing like what we get in March/April in college basketball. It is not even what the “lower” divisions of college football stage.
But wait a minute. Maybe this is what college football fans should hope for. If the AP goes in a different direction than the BCS for a few years, then maybe that will be the final die cast for serious change in the championship system as we know it. Maybe a little anarchy is just what we need.
This is not meant as a shot at or rally call to the members of the AP. It is each individual member’s right to vote how he/she chooses to. The AP poll is generally a solid representation of the top teams playing each fall. In recent years, the BCS has made moves to place less and less emphasis on the polls in the rankings. The rift is already there. Now, we just need to widen it a little.
I realize this is a pipe dream on the level of Super Mario Bros. 2, but this conundrum occurs almost every off-season. The fans left out of the BCS Championship Game feels slighted by the system. College football’s popularity (and TV ratings) has increased greatly in the recent years. However, I posit that at some point fans are going to grow tired enough of the flaws of the BCS to walk away in significant numbers from the game no matter how much passion the fans may have for the team/game. The system powers-that-be should take notice and action now. After all, there actually is an infinite number of times you can feed garbage to the fans and expect them to take it as gourmet food.
Just ask the National Hockey League.Powered by Sidelines