* Note: when I first wrote this essay I had no idea that Boise State would end up beating Oklahoma in one of the best college football games since Notre Dame vs. Penn State in ’93!  The result of the Broncos beating up on the Sooners is that the evidence pointing towards the necessity of a BCS Playoff is now more important and legitimate than ever before!  Enjoy!

For the few who may end up reading this because you’re bored or lonely, it is my hope to educate you in an important issue that affects so many lives today.  No, I’m not referring to AIDS in Africa, the mistreatment of midgets, or the growing rates of pregnant women abusing crack cocaine!  The simple fact is, I’m not referring to anything that has to do with actual life or death (well, unless you’re a Vegas junkie with more on the line than your butt can vouch for or if you’re dealing with a couple of Soprano-like jug heads who want their money, plus interest…), but instead something that has everything to do with the greatest sport on God’s green earth!  College freakin’ football, baby!!!

In case you’re completely oblivious to the issue at hand, allow me to inform you of the growing hodgepodge and botheration of bugaboo corporate vandalism in the realm of NCAA football.  What we have here is a massive failure to communicate in the most basic of ways brought about by nothing more than pure despotism from corporate America and university presidents.  On one hand, you have the overwhelming majority of America screaming and clamoring for a playoff system (of some sort) that would finally and for the first time have the clear-cut national champion shining in the lights of football history!  On the other hand, you have the over-weight and greasy-haired fat cats of corporate America sitting next to the ivory tower acadamiac socialists from our nation’s finest institutions of higher learning who are single handedly caulking the establishment of a spectacle of sports that would be second to none…a playoff system in college football that would crown a clear cut king with no questions asked!

For years and years, we have been force-fed the likes of Bowl Games such as the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl (BYU vs. Oregon), the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Rice vs. Troy), the Papajohns.com Bowl (South Florida vs. Eastern Carolina), the New Mexico Bowl (New Mexico vs. San Jose State), the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Tulsa vs. Utah), the Motor City Bowl (Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan), the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (Clemson vs. Kentucky), and/or the unforgettable, nationally reknowned San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (featuring Northern Illinois vs. Texas Christian) …and no, I’m not kidding about that last one!  Honestly.  I’m not kidding…and just in case you’re wondering, Texas Christian beat Northern Illinois in a thriller, 37-7.  I’m not kidding about that, either.

While I’m sure that the young men of Texas Christian University whom played in this bowl will tell their children for years afterwards that they were lucky and priviledged enough to not only play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, but to also have been on the winning side!  It’s a tale that should live on throughout the lineage and DNA of said collegiate football player, but who am I kidding?  Did anyone outside direct family members and recovering alcoholics even watch the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl?  And if recovering alcoholics actually did watch the game then how many of them relapsed?  C’mon…it’s a fair question!!!  I bet the answer is staggering and that the sum total of relapsed “twelve-steppers” who fell victim to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl would accumulate to a figure greater than your SAT score multiplied by your shoe size!  For some, that figure may be pretty low (especially if you went to The Ohio State Penitentiary University or if you’re blonde), but you get my point.

The worst case scenerio, of course, is if the bowl season ends without a clear National Champion.  Okay, maybe that wouldn’t be considered a “worst case scenerio” as much as it would be an awful black eye…a ridiculously swollen black eye for all of college football and college football fanatics alike.  For some (myself included), having the season end in turmoil may not be the worst case scenerio because it would essentially be one step closer to the theoretical solution that everyone with a pulse is hoping and praying for…a national playoff.  The only way that such a fiasco (blessing) could be realized is if the Florida Gators end up beating the Ohio State Luckeyes…oops, I mean Buckeyes.  If Florida wins then it will mean that the nation’s top three or four teams (depending on who else wins their beloved bowl games) will all have one loss.  Who is the legitimate national champion if that happens?  Some will say that Florida will deserve it while others will say that Michigan or Boise State (who could be undefeated if they win their bowl game against Oklahoma) deserve it!  The debate is meaningless because it simply won’t matter!  At the end of the bowl season, a group consisting of grumpy sport’s writers and dilapidated college coaches will vote on who the national championship should be awarded to.  In all reality, if such a scenerio occurs then the national championship will be split as it has in years past.  We’ll be stuck with a co-national champion.  Yeah…that’s right…a co-national champion!  In this day and age of political correctness and over-sensitivity where kids who need disciplined get a “time out” instead of a good old-fashioned butt-whooping, it makes all the sense in the world to have a co-national champion.  In fact, why don’t we just split it into fifths just to give people some sort of remedial mathematic problem to work on during the holidays?  It makes sense, right?  Let’s see…if team A beats team C, but loses to team B…then, ahhh, team D gets a share of the championship because team E beat team A?!  Yeah, that’s right…all of the above!

To make matters even worse, if Florida does end up beating Ohio State then what’s to stop the sport’s writers and coaches of America to split the national championship between Florida, Ohio State, and Michigan?  They will all have played a tough schedule (except Ohio State) and they will all have one loss…so what’s to stop them?  To the astute individual out there (and I’m sure there’s at least three or four of you…some where…) you may have put together the notion that Ohio State can win, lose, or draw and still be crowned national champions!  Isn’t that nice?  Ohio State just has to show up, play a semi-decent game and they’ll be given at least a portion of college football glory!  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Now you’re on the verge of understanding why college football fans of America are all acting like someone pissed in our Cheerios!

So, what’s the solution?  Well, I’m not a rocket scientist, nuclear physicist, or school bus driver, but I do still have a few brain synapses that periodically, yet expeditiously fire on que.  The solution is simply to have a national playoff.  A sixteen team playoff at the end of the season to determine the outright national champion!  Does it sound too difficult?  Sound like too much football for these somewhat struggling college athletes to play?  What if I told you that division I-AA, division II, division III, and NAIA college football has done it for years!  Yeah…and they’ve done it successfully, too!  The entire football season still has tremendous importance and value for each individual football program because it is imperative that they (at least) end the season ranked in the top 16.  The current BCS formula can (and probably should) still be applied in order to establish the top 16 teams, too! 

In an effort to maintain the long lasting and established tradition of bowl games such as the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the first round (and even into the second round) of the newly established division I tournament will be played under the guise of these obscure bowl games that today are hardly being watched by anyone…except, of course, by direct family members of the players and recovering alcoholics.

Allow me to show you the meat of the matter…the matchups that would be the first round of the tournament if it were played today.  [The rankings that I used were contrived of the top 16 teams according to the end of year BCS rankings.  Here they are as they would appear on a tournament bracket]:

(1)Ohio State vs. (16)Rutgers
(8)Boise State vs. (9)Auburn
(5)USC vs. (12)Arkansas
(4)LSU vs. (13)West Virginia
(3)Michigan vs. (14)Wake Forest
(6)Louisville vs. (11)Notre Dame
(7)Wisconsin vs. (10)Oklahoma
(2)Florida vs. (15)Virginia Tech
Some of these matchups in the proposed first round of the tournament are games that many of us would absolutely love to see!  Games such as Louisville vs. Notre Dame or Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma would not only rake in the proverbial “dough”, but would more than likely generate a highly coveted Nielsen T.V. rating that would rival some Super Bowls of years past!!  And this is just the first round!Arkansas was cowed and disheartened by USC in the first game of the season this year, but throughout the rest of the way, Arkansas established themselves as one of the best teams in the Southeastern Conference (which is considered by many to be the best football conference in the land next to the Big Ten) not to mention one of the best teams in the nation with one of the most exciting athletes in all of college football (McFadden) who was second in the race for the Heisman Trophy Award and he’s only a sophomore!  Things definitely changed from the first time these two teams played until now and a rematch would be most intriguing, indeed!If a majority of the top seeded teams won in the first round then the second round would be full of matchups that would make even the most remote of college football fans tremble in their boots and moisten their shorts!  Probable second round matchups would look like the following:(1)Ohio State vs. (9)Auburn
(5)USC vs. (4)LSU 
(3)Michigan vs. (11)Notre Dame 
(7)Wisconsin vs. (2)Florida

I have only two upsets in the first round of games, but people who know college football would definitely not call them upsets.  They are only considered upsets because of the BCS seeding. 

I have Auburn beating Boise State simply because Auburn played in the SEC and was one of the best teams in that conference.  They played top callibur competition week in and week out.  Plus, they were in the running for a possible national championship for months.  Boise State is a decent team with great coaches, but they’ve played competition that some Texas high schools could easily rival.  I also have Notre Dame beating Louisville for almost the same reasons.  Louisville is in the worst football conference in the land (the Big East…commonly referred to as the Big Least) and even got beat by the University of Cincinatti.  Like you, I didn’t realize that the University of Cincinatti even had a football team!  Yeah, the Cardinals are the Big Least Champions, but only by default.  They won the conference championship because Rutgers (yeah…Rutgers) lost to West Virginia in double overtime.  Notre Dame, on the other hand, has some of the most prolific offense juggernauts in the game today, not to mention the most under-rated coach in America!  They’ve played a tough schedule, but lost to the toughest teams they played.  What people forget about when considering Notre Dame is that the teams who play the Irish treat it as “their Super Bowl“.  Every week the Irish take on the very best that their opponents have to offer, yet the Irish still found a way to post a 10-2 overall record.  The Irish win.  No question about it.

With just eight teams left the games get even MORE exciting while posting matchups that are just too good for words to describe.  With a national championship riding on the line, these games would be absolutely tremendous and nearly every household in America would be tuned in!  Every single sports bar in the land would be packed full of party-goers and sports fans alike!  This would be the greatest sports weekend for the entire year!  The greatest aspect of these games is that any single one of these teams could legitimately win their respective game!  All of these teams deserve to be there (even IF Boise State won their first round game then it would be the “Cinderella Story” that everyone in America would be frothing over) and every single one of these teams could honestly be considered for a national championship!  They all have their own stories, but only one team of each matchup can advance.  Those advancing would probably be:

(1)Ohio State vs. (5)USC
AND
(3)Michigan vs. (2)Florida

The toughest matchup to consider at that point was the USC vs. LSU game.  LSU is extremely tough and talented, but I went with USC because they’ve been there before and they have a plethora of talent at nearly every single position.  Their offense is without question more than equiped to handle the pressure defense of the Bayou Bengals and their defense is proven by (earlier in the season) holding Notre Dame to just three touchdowns and a field goal, which is an accomplishment considering the offensive weapons that the Irish have in their arsenal.  It was a gut decision, but the actual game between the Trojans and Tigers would be a matchup that I (along with millions and millions of others) would absolutely love to see…and with so much on the line, I’m willing to bet that the actual game would not disappoint.

I went against the Irish beating the Wolverines of Michigan because (as hard as it is for me to say) I do feel that Michigan is just all-around better than Notre Dame.  In their matchup earlier this season, the Wolverines made minced-meat of the Irish defense and frustrated the high-powered Irish offense.  While I do think that this time around would not be as easy for the Wolverines, I still think that Michigan would be the victors…but only by a touchdown or less!

The matchup that I think people across the land want to see more than the current national championship (OSU vs. Florida) is the matchup that is currently proposed in my example as one of the “Final Four” games…Michigan vs. Florida.  The biggest argument today is NOT, “who is number one”, but instead, “who is number two”?  If Florida (currently ranked number two) were to play Michigan (currently ranked number three, but only by a very small percentage) then that argument would be significantly, if not completely, subsided.  There wouldn’t be any more controversy and Tressell’s cowardly “no vote” in the coaches poll at the end of the year would be rendered meaningless.  To only the victor would go the spoils of war and in this case, those “spoils” would be a shot at the national championship against (probably) Ohio State.  So, the matchup that everyone wants to see would either be:

(1)Ohio State vs. (2)Florida

or

(1)Ohio State vs. (3)Michigan

This national championship game would be watched by all.  It would be covered more than Britney Spears recently being caught not wearing panties!  It would be talked about more than “Bradgelina”!  It would bring in tens of millions of dollars in total revenues and maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars!  This game…the game of games…would probably even be watched more than the Super Bowl (well, maybe…) because all of the battle and war that was fought on the field in weeks prior to the game would have led up to this one final bout between heavyweights.  A much anticipated clash of super-teams consisting of individuals who are (supposedly…wink…wink…) not paid or endorsed, but rather spend their time in practice and studying for final exams!

In the solution that I’ve posted above, it doesn’t matter who wins or loses because it would be legitimate.  No one would be hoping for a catastrophic ending because it would send the collective BCS into a tailspin of uncertainty and controversy.  There would be no such thing because the eventual national champion would have to go through a mine-field of competition that would prove the champion worthy of such a title.  The solution I’ve presented above is not only something that makes all the sense in the world, but is also desired by every multi-celled organism flailing around aimlessly on the surface of the earth!

If you agree with the national championship solution that I’ve posted above then make your voice heard!  Respond to this blog with your opinions, call in to your local (or even national) sports radio shows, write letters to the editor of newspapers/magazines, or even boycott the bowl season altogether!  If you’re like me, you’ll find it hard to boycott some of the games, but I doubt you’ll find it hard at all to purposely tune out the San Diego County Credit Union Ponnsettia Bowl.

Remember that a vote for the Florida Gators is a vote for the “swollen black eye” of the BCS that could act as a catalyst for the very sought after NCAA Division I College Football Tournament!  Go Gators!

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