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Front Page » January 17, 2002 » Sports » The Sports View
Published 4,579 days ago

The Sports View


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By DONALD KAUL
Minuteman Media


The football season, as all things must, has come to an end. (That's the college football season, of course. Professional football never ends.)

Our scholar-athletes, of whom we are so justly proud, have labored mightily through the fall and early winter and we now know who the best team is---the best five teams, anyway.

On the other hand, who cares? With the exception of the dedicated fans of the schools involved, nobody gives a hoot. Oh, I know, there are those poor souls who call into "sports talk radio" shows and argue about this team or that, but they're hardly representative of your average person.

The fact is, the football establishment has screwed up post-season college football about as bad as it can be screwed up. They've managed to arrive at a system that produces one terribly one-sided track meet after another.

The geniuses who run the sports-entertainment establishment think the way to solve this is by establishing a playoff system that would engage the best teams in a month-long tournament, at the end of which we'd have a "true national champion." Which would be the only way things could be made worse. I look for it to happen.

There are two things to be said about a playoff system to determine the best college team. It wouldn't necessarily determine the best team; it would merely seem to. Injuries and luck play such a big role in college football that the same two teams could play two weeks in a row and achieve vastly different results.

Isn't the season long enough already? Teams start playing in August (often before their schools are in session) and continue into December and January---11, 12, 13 games to a season. Do you really want more college football? If you do, you should strongly consider getting a life.

You'll notice that I did not say playoffs were a bad idea because it would keep players out of school. The idea that players at big-time football schools actually go to school in a meaningful way during the football season is a fiction at best.

This is particularly true of the schools that would provide most of the contending teams. If you have to have a national champion, let the Florida teams---Florida, Florida State and Miami---play each other, first team to two victories wins. In nine out of ten years, the best team in the nation would emerge anyway.

The bowl system used to be a pretty nice deal, actually. You'd have a pretty good Northern team pitted against a pretty good Southern team in most games. It gave the Northern fans an excuse for a nice winter vacation and Southerners a chance to see a nearby team whup the Yanks. At the conclusion you'd have a couple of - or sometimes several -- teams who could claim to be the best and the fans could argue about it. It was pleasant.

Television ruined all of that, as it ruins everything. It's bound and determined to make the college system into a somewhat younger version of the National Football League.

I know that it's been a while since college football was amateur and relatively innocent, but you hate to give up the last vestige of the boola-boola days.

The only good thing one can say about the recently completed bowl season was that Colorado was soundly beaten by the University of Oregon, thereby proving that, even in college football, having thugs and hoodlums on your side isn't enough.

You need a passing attack too.


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