Now that the college football season has mercifully come to an end, it’s time for the NFL and actual, meaningful post season games to take center stage. For those who tout that the BCS is a great thing for college football, may I present to you the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals wildcard game from Sunday. Do you want to know what made that game an instant classic? I mean aside from the insane offense, lack of defense, great individual play by members from each team or the amazing finale to the game. The other thing that made it worth while, made it a legendary game was that there was something at stake, there was a bigger goal that each team was fighting for and if that goal wasn’t achieved then their entire season is for naught. It was a PLAYOFF game. Now college football fans, the thing you want to pay attention to in that last sentence is a certain word. I’ll give you a hint, it starts with P and ends in F and has LAYOF in-between.
Not to belittle the one million college bowl games that are played, but let’s be honest, aside from the players on the field, and the students who go to whatever school happens to be playing in the game, no one cares about the outcome. The only game people can say that really matters is the championship game, and even that one has lost its luster thanks to the BCS as of late.
Contrast that with the NFL well each game after the regular season is to work towards something. Where with a loss the season of one team is over while the other marches on. Can’t really say that about college football can you?
Now defenders will talk about how the BCS makes it so every single game is a playoff game. Well, that’s just, for a lack of a better word, stupid, not only is that a dumb excuse, it’s not even true. I vividly recall an Ohio State team making the championship game, even after losing their last game of the year, because the teams that could’ve claimed their spot all lost and OSU, having the benefit of not playing a single game for almost a month while the other teams played on and lost.
End result, OSU stumbles ass-backwards into a championship game MANY said they had no business playing in. The football gods were clearly paying attention because OSU would wind up getting their a$$3s handed to them by a much more deserving Florida team.
Now you may think by my little rant thus far that I’m not a fan of college football. On the contrary, I like college football a lot. My favorite team happens to be the Miami Hurricanes, and even if they were to win a championship in the era of the BCS (which they have) while happy I may be, it still wouldn’t feel as satisfactory as if they would’ve won it the way all the other football teams in other divisions win theirs. Fact is while I love the spectacle that is college football, while I love the passion the fans have for their teams and the excitement the game can cause amongst those who follow it, I can’t, as a sports fan, take seriously a sport that decides their possible champion by computers and poll numbers.
What makes the NFL and basically any other sport that actually has a playoff more meaningful, more fun and gets people interested is the possibility that you can be witness to history. You can see something that hardly ever happens. You can see a team no one gave a chance create upset after upset on route to the championship game, like oh I dunno, the Arizona Cardinals of last year. To put it back to a college perspective, to a lot of people (including me) the most exciting time in college sports, or all sports for that matter, isn’t in late december and early january, it’s in march.
MARCH F$%(ING MADNESS, people! The Big dance or whatever you want to call it, where 64 (technically 65) teams vie for a championship. Where the little school no one ever heard of has a chance to make a name for itself, even if it’s for one day or one week. Where David actually has a shot at Goliath and claim the crown for himself. Fact is most people love an underdog. And I’m not talking about a Texas v. Alabama type underdog, I mean a George Mason beating one Goliath after another underdog. You don’t get that in college football. God knows I’d love to see it happen but it hasn’t and more than likely won’t. The closest we’ve come to that was when a small time school from Boise beat a supposed powerhouse from Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Now imagine if that were to happen in the championship game? Unfortunately, all we’ll have to be left with is our imagination because unless something changes, the BCS won’t be going anywhere for awhile.
Which brings me back to the NFL. There’s a reason people love the NFL, aside from its grandeur, spectacle, style and it’s ability to market itself to damn near everyone. The post season makes everything that happens in the regular season important and every team has a shot, even if that team happens to lose a couple of games in october, which is usually the death knell in college. So I’m going to enjoy these next few weeks of playoff football, and be very thankful, as a football fan and sports fan in general, that there is some mainstream football that decides their champion the old fashioned way.