Amidst all the anger and ridicule on Sunday, I hope everyone takes the time to enjoy the rush. Reminder about college sports: Athletes are not as good as the pros. The game isn’t nearly as polished. What compensates for the majority of participants who have no chance of becoming well-paid professional athletes is the chaos. The emotion and moments that leave mouths agape are what make the matches worth watching. The College Football Playoff for one age presented the decision between Alabama and Florida State for the final spot.
Regardless of how individuals feel about the exclusion of the undefeated Soviet Union, such arguments are a key element in the special mix of college sports. The 12-team playoff will be more representative of the best teams in the country, not only in Florida, but also in Georgia, Oregon and Ohio State. However, once that system takes effect next season, sports fans will lose out on a great American time — as they debate which college football teams deserve to be national champions.
The process by which college football’s national champion is declared has gone through some sweeping reforms in the past 25 years. Prior to 1998, all major league ballgames were played on New Year’s Day. After the games are over, the AP and the coaches vote on who they think is the champion. Sometimes the polls agree on the same champion and in other years, such as 1997, multiple are declared.
Beginning in 1998, the Bowl Championship Series was launched to identify the top two teams in the country and match them in the annual national championship game. With approximately 70 teams considered major college football programs each season, none of these systems were an effective way to crown a champion. So in 2014, the College Football Playoff began with four teams and two games. Participants will be selected by a committee.
There have been some controversial decisions by the committee, but it’s rare that four teams are actually capable of winning a national championship. However, in 2023, parity has arrived in college football in a big way. Many of the playoff contenders have been qualified by mediocre teams, while others have largely skied by spending most of the season playing against below-average opponents.
NFL quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a season-ending injury with 11 quarters remaining in the season and his team undefeated. The Noles won their next three games, including on the road at The Swamp in Gainesville, Fla., and held an offense that averaged 30.9 points per game — Louisville — to six in the neutral-site conference championship game.
Defending back-to-back national champion Georgia started the season ranked No. 1. They didn’t even lose the SEC Championship game against Alabama. The Tide’s only loss of 2023 was Week 2 at home to Texas. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma St. John’s. In the conference championship game, 49-21, their only loss was a neutral-site rivalry game against No. 12 Oklahoma. Michigan ate a donut schedule before defeating Ohio State in Week 13 at home. And how did Washington pull it off? It has narrowly defeated Oregon — the team with the second-best point differential in the country, behind only Michigan — twice.
With eight teams that have a legitimate argument to be the best in the country, not even a 4-team playoff can easily navigate this complicated season. Once the top four seeds of Michigan, Alabama, Washington State and Texas were revealed on Sunday, the NFL’s early roster launch couldn’t stop the conversation about the College Football Playoff.
ESPN Booger McFarland was furious That undefeated team was ruled out in favor of one-loss Alabama, which needed a miracle fourth-and-31 in Week 13 to defeat unranked rival Auburn on the road. His colleague Kirk Herbstreit thinks so The committee got it right. Fans, media and members of the FFA Football Association were not shy about expressing their satisfaction with the playoff or outright disgust.
“Why bother playing games if that’s the outcome?” “Florida State simply isn’t one of the best teams in America without Travis, and the ACC sucks.” “The SEC has a losing record before the ACC this year.” “The SEC is the best conference yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever because I said fuck it.”
I’m a millennial, so social media is always at least a minor distraction while watching TV. Combining the tenuous early window of NFL games with the most pressing conversation around the national championship since 2006 when some people wanted a rematch of Ohio State and Michigan in the title game, the RedZone has never been more difficult to focus on than on Sunday.
College football fans are always restless. Throwing them a debate with no right answer, and a national sports media fire, moments like these are what make watching college athletics worth it. In this world, games are decided by fourth-and-31 downs, Kick sixesand the rulers who make A bad fumble is called a play when the coach decides not to kneel on the clock. Insanity is riveting.
Madness that is gradually chipped away at degree. Starting next season, there will be two conferences featuring the biggest names in college football. The ACC and Big 12 will still have Power 5 talent, but those two conferences will be a clear tier below the Big Ten and SEC.
There will also be no debate about the merits of the Big 12 Conference and ACC champions, because the playoffs expand to 12 teams. No one will want to hear complaints about the top four finishers in this tournament, because no 12th seed will win the national championship.
The process of determining the best team of the season will certainly be cleaner than ever, but who said neatness and order make college sports the best? The chaos and frustration are the best part of the viewing product.
Save the proper evaluation and shameful money grabbing of professional sports. These are the best athletes in the world, so their superiority is amusing in itself. College athletes are people fresh out of high school who participate in high-stakes competition, and their biggest fans are the people who spend it 24/7, 365 hours, completely drunk with regional pride.
As the powers that be in college sports continue to try to bring what they believe is order to the chaos that was beautiful as it was, the Sunday following the conference championship game, Saturday 2023, was the final display of the masterpiece.