Now, I know everyone has already decided that a "playoff" is the answer to all of college football's perceived ills.
I know all of sporting America has come to the conclusion that a "playoff" is only the system by which any league in any sport can determine a "true" champion.
And I know our nation's generally unoriginal sports commentators will never cease their complaining until the BCS is blown up, torn down, eradicated ... and replaced with a "playoff" format that, according to them, will solve all of college football's problems and generally make the world a more perfect place.
To which I say: Enough.
A playoff won't solve college football's problems. A playoff won't make college football better. A playoff won't improve upon college football in the least, because college football is already (and undeniably) the greatest sport our great nation has ever known. My arguments against this ridiculous playoff idea are many, and I don't have nearly enough time or space to make them all here, but I will just say this: This past weekend, we saw nothing short of college football perfection. We saw upsets--titanic upsets--and we saw miracles. We saw comebacks and we saw collapses. We saw, essentially, two straight days of unrelenting, utterly fantastic football action.
And yes, in some way, we have the BCS--and the live-and-die-every-single-week mentality that the BCS engenders--to thank.
I mean, think just for a moment how tragic it would be if Oregon or Oklahoma or Oklahoma State had been "resting their starters" this week. Think just for a moment how awful it would be if we saw top-flight programs treating these late-season games as nothing more than tune-ups for the playoffs. Think for a moment what we'll lose if we take the enormous gravity out of every single week of the regular season.
College football's system for choosing a champion may not be perfect. And this season, it seems, we are headed for what may be charitably called a "messy" conclusion. But the fact is, there is no regular season is more sports more thrilling, more heartbreaking, more stunningly beautiful than college football's.
We must do everything in our power to save that.
Look, I don't doubt that the pro-playoff folks really believe that they're right.
I don't doubt that they really believe that their quaint little playoff idea would be of benefit to college football.
I don't doubt that they believe that they are fighting the good fight.
But the reality is, they're wrong. About pretty much everything.
A playoff wouldn't save college football.
It would destroy it.
♦ Penn State needed this. They needed it bad. While we can all agree that the Nittany Lions are still years away from a return to "normalcy," and while we all understand that more turmoil is yet to come for this once-proud program, it should also be noted that, despite the ever-unfolding scandal up in State College, this 2011 Lions squad is somehow managing to play some pretty good football. Indeed, despite the enormous distractions surrounding them, this group of Lions has put itself in position to walk off with the inaugural Leaders Division title. With a workmanlike 20-14 win over Ohio State in Columbus, the Nits need only beat Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers to claim a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. It may seem a tall order, and it probably is. But this bunch has been discounted and discredited and left for dead time and time again this season. It is really all that difficult to believe that they can come through once more?
♦ I never doubted Robert Griffin III. Never. With the Baylor Bears locked in a 38-38 tie late in the fourth quarter against supposedly mighty Oklahoma, and with those Bears (in theory) reeling form the Sooners' remarkable comeback, Griffin never flinched. With less than a minute to work with Griffin calmly (and spectacularly) led the Bears into Sooners territory before delivering his masterstroke: a 34-yard touchdown pass to wideout Terrance Williams--a touchdown that not only knocked Oklahoma out of the national title race (reminder, Sooners: defense wins championships) but also cemented Griffin's legacy as the greatest player in Baylor history and placed him squarely in the midst of the Heisman hunt. An incredible performance from a truly incredible player.
♦ I'll get this out of the way right up front: Yes, the officials in that messy Vanderbilt-Tennessee game got the final call of the evening "right" (sort of). Yes, it is true that Eric Gordon's knee was not down as he made the interception that ultimately turned into the game winning pick six. So yes, you can certainly understand the sentiment among Vols fans that, you know, Vandy fans have nothing to complain about. Except, Vandy fans do have something to complain about, because while Gordon was no down, the head linesman on the play thought he was down. So he blew the whistle. Thereby, you know, bringing the play to an end. By rule, the play had to be stopped there--at that moment, at that spot on the field. Stunningly, however, the officials ruled (untruthfully) that there was no whistle on the play. Even though there was. Result? Tennessee 27, Vanderbilt 21. Later that evening, the SEC issued a statement, apologizing for the error. But it was too little, too late. Far too little, far too late.