Editor’s Note: This column is part of a two-column debate between CBS Chicago’s Sam Zuba and Dave Wischnowsky regarding whether or not a playoff should be used in college football. To read Dave’s argument, please click here.
By Sam Zuba-
(CBS) I just don’t get it.
I’ve never understood the obsession with college bowl games.
Teams compete all season long, for what? A chance to win the GoDaddy.com Bowl? The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl? Or even worse — the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl?
Let me pose a question, if I may: Who cares?
I liken these superfluous bowl games to the loser’s bracket in high school basketball tournaments — a place nobody wants to be.
“Hey, you didn’t win it all, but we’re going to let you and your little friends play around in the Meineke Car Care Bowl as a consolation. Here’s some swag to make you feel better.”
No, thank you. Give me a chance to win the National Championship, or send me on my way.
It’s time for a playoff in college football, already. It’s simple, really. Take the top six teams, give the first two teams a bye, and then let’s see who the National Champion is. There is no harm in this system. You can keep the other bowl games, if you wish. Give the losers something to play for, I guess. But for the elite, set up a playoff system.
This structure would produce three of the most exciting weeks college football has ever seen.
The argument that exchanging the bowl season for a playoff system would take away from the excitement of the regular season is absurd and off-base. How exciting is college football once your favorite team has one or two losses? Hopes of playing for a National Championship are now crushed, with teams forced to set their sites on the completely ambiguous Rose, Fiesta, Sugar or Orange Bowl.
What do these bowls even mean? In the NFL, if you win the Lombardi Trophy, you’re the league champion. If you win the Rose Bowl trophy, what are you?
Look to the NFL to see just how exciting a regular season can be. Teams fight until Week 17 to earn their playoff spot so they can represent their conference in the Super Bowl.
In the words of Herm Edwards (sort of), you play to win it all.
I don’t know too many teams who, before the start of the season, have their sights set on the Music City Bowl. No, you set your sights on being the best, on winning the National Championship.
With each loss, the chances of making it to the BCS National Championship game under the current configuration are drastically diminished. And, given the structure of most conferences schedules, non-BCS conference teams have almost no chance of ever playing for the National Championship, regardless of their regular-season record.
I’m looking at you, Boise State and TCU.
Teams that finish the regular season at 10-2, 9-3 or even 8-4 deserve at least the opportunity to compete for the National Championship. The regular season would still matter if the end result was a six-team playoff — you have to be in the top six to play for something meaningful.
With the culmination of that playoff, you’d have a clear, non-disputable National Champion.
There’s a reason why March Madness is so exciting.
Each year, 68 teams compete for their chance at the National title. As long as you weren’t complete garbage during the regular season, you have a chance to end the season as champions.
Let’s have the BCS take a page out of college basketball’s book — or any other meaningful sport for that matter.
Until then, you can keep your bowl full of oranges.
For more information, follow Sam on Twitter @SamZuba