Whether or not you agree with its principles — and I certainly have friends who are passionately on either side of the issue — there is no denying that the Occupy movement has gained a foothold on the public consciousness this year.
But I guess I find it kind of funny that it took until 2011 for such a movement to occur. The same principles those people are arguing against are the same that I’ve been railing against in the world of college football since as long as I’ve had a brain capable of forming cogent thoughts: the power structure is controlled by an ultra-wealthy elite, and they aren’t interested in sharing that pie with the common scum.
In a way, one could argue that college football as practiced in the Bowl Subdivision is the most American sport of them all in an allegoric sense — at least for those who believe the deck is stacked and upward mobility is increasingly difficult to achieve. I suppose whether or not that’s the case in the real world is up for debate, but there’s no questioning whether it is the case in college football.
In every other form of sport in this country, the champion is crowned as the result of a playoff process. Even in freaking NASCAR and golf they do this stuff. Because it’s fair, it makes sense, and most importantly, it’s what fans want — and in most cases, what fans want is what determines your profit margin.
Heck, even college football has a playoff system. Every level below the FBS — Division I-AA (now the FCS, probably an intentional fudge to confuse the masses), Division II, Division III and the NAIA — has a playoff to crown its champion. None of them has a playoff field fewer than 16 teams.
Yet for some reason, year after year, we are told that the big boys can’t have a playoff since it will take away from the tradition of bowl games. That’s right. The same guys that are breaking up rivalries that date back to the 19th century like Missouri-Kansas and Texas-Texas A&M because of money are trying to tell us with a straight face that tradition means anything anymore.
They can blow it up their ass. We’re not grotesquely stupid. Anyone buying that line of BS needs their head checked. Preferably with a hammer. The only thing this is about, and every will be about, is money.
It’s bad enough that the national championship game will be a rematch of one we’ve already seen this year. But this is not meant to be an argument over the merits of Alabama or Oklahoma State as LSU’s opponent for the championship game. This is about tackling the absurdity that allows a championship game to be determined by anything other than how someone played on the field in a semifinal game.
I’m not sure whether Alabama or Oklahoma State is the better team. I could see valid arguments in either direction. But why are we letting arguments determine which will play for a title? Here’s a novel concept — HOW ABOUT LETTING THEM PLAY SO WE CAN FIND OUT?
The outrages only get worse when you look at the teams playing in other BCS bowl games. Well, at least in the case of the Sugar Bowl, which represents everything that is wrong with college football.
Somehow, Michigan will be squaring off with Virginia Tech in New Orleans despite being ranked below Kansas State, Baylor and Boise State, all of whom will be heading to lesser bowl games. Actually, the how is not that difficult to figure out — the Wolverines, who have a history of traveling well to bowl games, will be getting a fat paycheck for that reason alone.
It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with what they did on the field this year — Michigan beat a whopping one Top 25 team. (Then again, that’s one more Top 25 team than Virginia Tech beat. Maybe I’m attacking the wrong undeserving team). Michigan also lost to Michigan State, which was somehow penalized because it earned the right to play an extra game by winning its division in the Big Ten, but then fell behind the Wolverines in the standings after it lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
Good job on creating that championship game, Jim Delaney. You’re a douchebag.
Things get even murkier when you look at the reason for Boise’s exclusion. As members of a non-Automatic Qualifying conference, the Broncos could only make a BCS game by winning the Mountain West title. TCU ended up winning the league, so despite ranking No. 7 in the country Boise was shut out of the premier four bowl games.
Rules are rules, so I guess I have no bone to pick with Boise missing the dance. Unless, say, you were to send a team to the national championship game that did not win its conference WHILE EXPRESSLY HAVING A RULE BARRING BOISE FROM YOUR PARTY FOR NOT WINNING ITS CONFERENCE.
Let’s face it, folks: the BCS is fucked. And the BCS will always be fucked. Don’t you think there is something flawed with a system that has to be tweaked every single year because we find something new wrong with it every single year?
To wit, Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel recently discovered that one of the computer polls used in the BCS formula had Arizona Western Community College ranked 30th in the country at one point this season.
This is the best way to crown a champion?
Only if you are one of the rich in a system that gets you richer.
And since the only way to fight money is with money, I humbly submit the following suggestion to real college football fans: boycott bowl games. (I realize that this is much easier to do as an Indiana fan, so convincing you fans of actual good teams figures to be a bit more challenging. Just trust me on this, though. We’re going to make this sport better for everyone. And you can tell your grandkids you were part of it).
Don’t show up. Don’t watch. Hit the powers that be in their wallets until we force their hands and give America what it deserves. A playoff system that finally crowns college football’s champ in a way that makes sense.