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Ready for a college football playoff yet?

By: 1 January 2011 2 Comments

Every year about this time, sports writers and fans around the nation bore us to tears by declaring there needs to be a playoff system in place to better determine which college football team is truly the best one in the country.

Fortunately (unfortunately?), we at First Arkansas News have never been afraid to reach deep into the “beating a dead horse” files and pull out a topic or two. This topic seems very appropriate this year and, well, every year.

Think about it. The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was formed in 1998 for the express purpose of putting on a national championship game and arranging four other high profile bowls.

Rather than achieving the goal of putting together a legitimate national championship game, the BCS has caused one controversy after another since it was formed. Think back to the 1998 season when Kansas State finished third in the nation (according to those often-political polls) but wound up being passed over for a BCS bowl and playing instead in the Alamo Bowl. In 2000, there was little question that Oklahoma should be in the national championship game, but three other teams — Florida State, Miami and Washington could all argue they should play the Sooners. Ultimately, Florida State lost to Oklahoma in the championship game, leaving a lot of Miami and Washington fans furious.

Want more? In 2001, Nebraska was ranked fourth in the nation, yet was chosen to face Miami for the national championship. Nebraska lost the game. In the 2003 season, Louisiana State (LSU), Oklahoma and University of Southern California (USC) were all contenders for the national championship game. LSU and Oklahoma played for the title, leaving a lot of USC fans and a few head coaches furious. We could do this all day long, but anyone who’s followed college football knows about BCS controversies.

Most recently, the controversies have centered around some undefeated teams that have been denied a shot at the national title or a BCS bowl because they come from “weaker conferences.” Quite often, we’re talking about Boise State and Texas Christian (TCU). TCU is a good example to point out this year as they just did something that no one thought they could do — the team beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and ended the season undefeated.

The whole thing was interesting as a lot of people didn’t give TCU much of a chance in the Rose Bowl while others adopted the attitude that TCU may have beaten Wisconsin, but would get creamed by Auburn or Oregon — the two teams playing for the national championship this season. Perhaps TCU would get stomped by Auburn or Oregon or perhaps the team is as underrated as fans say and would do well in the national championship game.

All of those arguments would be settled once and for all with a legitimate playoff system. Think how things would look this year if the top 10 teams in the nation (shrink that to the top 8 teams if you want to be rid of handing out byes) entered a playoff system and the last team standing was declared the national champion. You’d have no disgruntled fans claiming their favorite teams were discriminated against by a rigid BCS formula or weird NCAA politics. You’d have no people saying those undefeated teams are clearly inferior and couldn’t run with “the big boys.”

Indeed, you’d have a a system in place that would yield a national champion with little room for controversy. That’s a heck of a plan. No wonder people keep demanding a playoff system.

By the way, I don’t care who you are, you’ve got to take your hat off to TCU. There’s a team that people said couldn’t run with the big boys and those lads simply came in with a good game plan and got the job done. The “experts” predicted TCU would get slaughtered in the Rose Bowl and they were all wrong, weren’t they?

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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