Mythbusters: The biggest one of all
It's been another controversial regular season. If only there were, say, three extra weeks between now and the BCS title game to actually settle matters on the field...
But, alas, as fans and players angrily stew over college football's annual postseason mess, it's time to puncture what is quite possibly the biggest myth in the sport today:
Before we illustrate the inevitability of a playoff (or its diminutive but equally intriguing cousin, the plus-one), we have to report one positive development in this ongoing discussion. We seem to have moved away from the "Playoffs would force students to miss too much class time" angle, because nobody is naive enough to buy that. At least we've established a minimum intelligence threshold in this debate.
So who are the mysterious men preventing a playoff from happening? SI's own
These men won't see their BCS golden goose slaughtered without a fight. The closer we get to some form of postseason reformation (and make no mistake, we inch closer every year), the louder their protests will get. You'll hear no-playoff guarantees from folks like Ohio State president
Not to demean Swofford's academic credibility, but his definition of "majority" is questionable at best. A recent Seton Hall University poll found that 63 percent of fans support a playoff in some form. You might find it strange that a non-football power like Seton Hall is involved in this discussion, but guys from M.I.T. help determine our national champ, so it's all relative.
But enough about guys like Gee, Swofford and
University of Georgia president
It's fine that those leading figures back a playoff, you might say, but will power alone won't get it done. If only there were someone with real power, maybe a political figure of some renown, who favored a playoff and could use his bully pulpit to push for real change in the sport.
How about the future President of the United States?
Not that the new president will have an easy time of it. The dinosaurs will trot out their well-worn excuses like "a playoff would devalue the regular season." Sure, just like Christmas morning ruins the holiday season.
Have the playoffs and Super Bowl ruined the NFL's regular season? Well, if there's one thing the NFL needs, it's for more people to pay attention to its regular season, right? It just flies right under the radar, doesn't it?
Playoff detractors point to the watered-down NBA, MLB and college basketball regular seasons -- but those are leagues that play between 35 and 162 games. College football's regular season is 11 to 13 games, so it's apples and Orange Bowls.
The fact is, if there were a four-team or eight-team playoff, very few of the top 10 teams could afford a loss in the last week of the season, and certainly not a blowout loss. Just ask Texas Tech, which went from unbeaten to No. 7 after suffering its only loss to Oklahoma. Or USC, which despite playing some of the best defense in recent NCAA history, still couldn't play its way to the No. 4 ranking -- the final cut-off in a plus-one playoff. Second losses by either eventual title game participant would have likely knocked them out of a plus-one playoff, too.
So the notion that, say, Florida might sit a player like
But forget all the political pressure and logical reasons to do it. There will eventually be playoffs for the same reason that bowl games were originally created and the BCS came into creation.
$$$$$$$$$. And more $$$$$$$.
Some say there's too much money involved to create a playoff, but the truth is, there's too much money
It's a point important enough to reiterate: A playoff would generate more money, and
The fact is, college football has corrected most of its injustices and flaws over the course of the decades. After all, there even used to be ties (ties!). If we can overcome the blight of ties, we will overcome our postseason inertia.
It's going to take a while, but I-A playoffs are going to happen. Because while 63 percent of college football fans say they want to see them, about 99 percent of college football fans would watch.
And remember: Just because college football fans believe it's true, doesn't mean it is.