Once again there is whining from the usual suspects calling for a playoff system among the major college football teams. Once again, there is some lawyer threatening to sue someone.
Now there is even a politician who — rather than be concerned with terrorism, war, famine, plague, unemployment, crime, etc. — wants to enact a law forcing a playoff. Incredibly, this is being advocated by a politician who opposes government intervention!
A putatively anti-big government conservative, Congressman Joe Barton, Rep – TX, wants to pass a law interfering with free market capitalism and force colleges to enact a playoff system.
No wonder Republicans are getting hammered in the elections. Such phony devotion to free-market principles and smaller government is easily discerned by an electorate tired of politicians not investigating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
No, instead they want to investigate how major college football teams determine their champion and how many games there will be to do it.
This is the salient point here. This is a game — played by unpaid college kids. Before politicians invoke anti-trust regulations, remember who is involved here.
Before adding a new government acronym to the lexicon (can’t you just see it now “President Obama just announced the appointment of Barney Frank, Commissioner of the Federal College Football Playoff Administration”) remember who we are talking about.
I found a 25 year old television guide piece about the approaching college football bowl games on television. The writer said there were too many bowl games (16 then as opposed to the 34 now). He also said there should be a playoff.
Well there is a playoff system in major college football. It involves the top two seeded teams.
Now you may say this is not much of a playoff, that it is not fair. You may ask why it is not like the NCAA basketball tournament — which provides 64 teams a chance at the championship.
As far as fairness is concerned, those 64 tournament teams are seeded — just as the two major college football teams are. When one considers that the lowest seed ever to be champion was Villanova — the #8 seed in 1985 — why should there be 64 teams?
Think about it — in 70 years — only one team not in the top five ever won the championship.
Now some people (especially sportswriters many of whom are as doctrinaire leftist as their newsroom brethren) say the bowl games are about greed. They postulate the only reason there is no playoff is because the bowl games will lose money.
There is no greed in the NCAA tournament? How ingenuous can you get.
The tournament started in 1939 (37 years after the first bowl game). It consisted of only eight teams then. It expanded to 64 in 1985.
Why do you think that was? Money!
Before “March Madness” came along (the advertising moniker television networks gave the tournament) the public was not very concerned about who the college basketball champion was. Indeed, most teams played in the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) until about the ’70’s.
Do you think the NCAA makes more or less money because of “March Madness?”
The same thing can be said about small college football. No one was interested whether Podunk State, Coal Cracker College or Sunset Beach U. was the number one small college team in the nation.
However, make small college teams determine their champion by a playoff and now there is some suspense for a TV audience. Now networks can sell commercial airtime.
The major college teams do not need to generate interest. They do not need the gimmick of a “playoff.” They already have an audience.
If the small college football teams, college basketball teams or college baseball teams want a playoff that is their business. Just do not say it is for righteous reasons.
Let major college football alone.
If Widget Inc. — maker of the best paper fasteners in the world — wants to sponsor the Paper Clip Bowl; the city of Osh Kosh, Wisconsin wants to host it; Middle Tennessee State and North Dakota State want to play in it; ESPN wants to broadcast it; and a few million people want to watch it; why should the federal government, the courts, or the sportswriters of America complain?
The current system is fine. The games — for the most part — are fun to watch. Players get a chance to be on a national stage — for most their only chance to do so.
Even the marching bands have an opportunity to showcase their talents, their efforts work and their desire.
The bowl games are a ball for these kids. Don’t let the adults ruin it.