Sunday, January 2, 2011

'We're Number 3!' or 'Oh for a College Playoff System!'

Congratulations to Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, the winner of this year's Rose Bowl. Their 21-19 victory over Wisconson served as vindication for at least two years of humiliating snubbing by the BCS and, I think continues to bolster the argument for a NCAA Division 1 playoff system for college football.

TCU will be ranked no less than 3rd in the nation. But what would their ranking be, were the Rose Bowl part of a more legitimate college championship series? Would it be 3? Or 5? Or 2? Whatever it would be, I'm willing to take almost any bet that, other than their perfect season, Coach Gary Patterson would sacrifice anything else associated with this victory to have that question settled beyond doubt where it should be, on the field.

The Dallas Morning News' Tod Robberson, points one of my two pet peeves, when it comes to college football: the ridiculously clumsy names associated with the awarding of naming rights. We can no longer simply have a 'Citrus Bowl' or a 'Cotton Bowl', (although, thankfully we do still have the 'Gator Bowl'). We now have the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. About 35 bowls in all (my other pet peeve), most of which have attendance figures which fall far beyond projections and many of which were, to date, blowouts (after all, you become bowl eligible by winning only 6 games!).

While Tod's point is specifically, the press' pandering to the corporate take-over of these games by mentioning the sponsors every time the bowl is mentioned. Mine is this - universities and colleges have, purportedly, some of the smartest people in the world from every discipline. Are we actually to believe that there is NO way that an actual system cannot be figured out for a system which a) allows the colleges to make their mega-millions b) makes at least half of these bowl games more meaningful and c) gives the college players something to really remember - a game in which they actually have a chance to be undisputed champions?! Schools that win six games can still go to their bowl games (they have no bearing on the national championship anyway and rarely impact the national standings). But if Division II and III, as well as college basketball have figured out a playoff system that diminishes neither money or school pride, why can't Division I college football do it?!

Until that time, we'll settle for the moral victories, like TCU's over Wisconson. For two years they've done the only thing they could do - schedule good teams to play and make the case that they should be numbered among the best on the field. It's never been so exciting to watch a school say 'We're Number 3!'

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