Friday, December 19, 2008

Bowling for Dollars

One of the arguments against a playoff system at the FBS level of college football is that it would deprive schools of the privilege of playing in a bowl. It’s true that a lot of teams will never aspire to the level of play necessary to qualify them for a shot at a national title but they still get to play one last game on the national stage if they win enough during the regular season. Six is the magic number, which is why 6-6 Notre Dame managed to secure a trip to Hawaii on Christmas Eve.

Not every six win team gets to play in a bowl because 6-6 does not a winning record make, but when you have the kind of history Notre Dame has and the harbor porpoise you call a coach has been out of the water too long, you get to pack your bags for paradise. Never mind the fact that Notre Dame didn’t beat anybody respectable. Forget about the reality of the modern era where Notre Dame is a second tier program that refuses to join a conference for fear of not being able to negotiate its own television contracts.

Implementing a playoff system doesn’t mean you have to eliminate bowls. You can still have obscure bowls played in the middle of the week to appease the mediocre teams who win 7 games or take home a conference title nobody really cares about. Playoffs would only require modifying the BCS bowls to accommodate a post season tournament.

There are people who complain that playoffs would diminish the importance of the other bowl games, but as I look over the schedule I find it hard to believe that these games could be any less significant.

There are two games that I’m going to sit down and watch. I’m interested in seeing if Penn State was tested enough during the regular season to keep USC under wraps. I don’t think they were, but I have to see it for myself. Personally I think that the Big 10 was weak this year and Penn State didn’t play anybody worthy of national respect. Ohio State was an important win for Penn State but I’m not so sure it proves anything. USC wasn’t as dominant as people thought they were after the beating they handed the Buckeyes but they still have some firepower and they have a good defense. Penn State’s in trouble.

I’m also interested in the Oklahoma/Florida pairing. I hate the BCS and I won’t give either team credit for winning a national title when this one is over, but I think that off all the games you could have scheduled for this bowl season, this is the best pairing. I suspect Oklahoma’s defense is a lot better than people think and Florida won’t be able to keep up with the Sooners, but Bob Stoops has suffered a couple of humiliating BCS losses in recent years. This game is a toss up. It could go either way. I don’t like either program but Tim Tebow seems like a big, fat, overrated jerk to me and I like Sam Bradford so I’m rooting for Oklahoma.

I won’t waste my time watching Utah get throttled by Alabama. I hope Utah does well but I don’t think they stand a chance in this one. I maintain that the BCS scheduled this match up to punish Utah for crashing the BCS party. Alabama and Texas was an intriguing concept but I suspect that game would have impugned the credibility of the BCS title game. So the BCS people ruined it for everybody. Thanks, old white guys in suits, you really know how to screw things up.

Even though I consider myself a waning Buckeye fan I won’t waste my time watching the Fiesta Bowl. Jim Tressel manages to throw a soggy sweater vest on everything, including Terrelle Pryor. The Buckeyes are predictable and boring. The defense doesn’t make big plays, and the offense has become one dimensional. Don’t let the spread formation fool you, Tressel’s offense is easy to read and tough to watch. Texas will dismantle the Buckeyes in short order, holding out hope that a big win will help them make a case for being the people’s champion. Sadly, Ohio State has become a BCS doormat and beating the Buckeyes won’t impress anybody.

Outside of that, I really couldn’t care less about the rest of the bowls. Not only will I not bother watching, I think that I might even forget to check the box scores to see who won. No offense to the fans and players of all of those teams who will be playing, I just don’t care. It’s not my fault that college football has the audacity to lump 119 programs in one subdivision as if they’re all equal. Fans know better. There are 20 teams that matter and the rest are just fodder for the schedule. Most of the bowls are like those cheap hats they stuff into cases of beer. But hey, it looks good on you though.

No comments: