Latest BCS fiasco is just another example of why the NFL trumps college football

I used to have a friend in college named Paul. He was a great guy – loved football, although he couldn’t care less about the NFL. He was a college football fan through and through.

Paul and I used to get into heated debates over which was better – college or pro football. One time we almost came to blows in his living room, although it’s important to note that there may have been some alcoholic beverages involved that contributed to the debate growing into a fight.

Sam BradfordHis main points were that NFL players only cared about money and essentially weren’t playing for the love of the game. Conversely, since college players weren’t being paid, they played more for the competition and the love of football. He also noted that the game-day atmosphere in college football was way better than in the NFL and that the regular season games had more meaning because if a college team lost, than their season could essentially be over.

His first point about college football players loving the game more because they’re not being paid is a bit flawed. Some NFL players only play for the money. But some college football players are only playing so that they can make it to the NFL…so they can make money. I really don’t see the difference.

But Paul had a point about the atmosphere being better in college – I would rather tailgate with a bunch of rowdy college kids than some stuffy executive types that got their NFL tickets for free at the company picnic.

However, after Oklahoma leapfrogged Texas in the BCS standings this week despite the fact that the Longhorns beat the Sooners earlier in the year, I refuse to agree with anyone who says regular season games in college have more meaning than in the NFL.

True, an NFL team could lose seven games in one season and still make the playoffs. But at least everything in the NFL is decided on the field. If the Cardinals win the NFC West this year with a 9-7 record, it’s because they beat out everyone else in their division. The Seahawks, 49ers and Rams might blow chunks this season, which essentially gave Arizona an easy crown, but at least every team had the same opportunity to win the division at the start of the year.

Not so in college football. You see, not only do you have to win all (or all but one) of your games to play for a championship in college football, but you also have to hope that those teams that you beat have a good season so that it looks like you had a tough schedule. Oh, and you also have to win by a large margin of points so that you appear more dominant than other teams in your division.

There was a three-way tie in the Big 12 South this year between Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. All three teams beat each other, but because Texas and Oklahoma were higher in the BCS standings, it really came down to the Longhorns and Sooners for the rights to play Missouri in the Big 12 Championship.

Texas beat Oklahoma (who was the top ranked team at the time) 45-35 on October 11. Therefore the Longhorns deserve to play in the Big 12 Championship. Case closed, right? In a head to head match (on a neutral field mind you), Texas beat Oklahoma.

And yet the Sooners will play the Tigers in the Big 12 title game on Saturday. Why? Because the college football system is the most flawed concept in sports.

Don’t tell me that a playoff would make the regular season meaningless because clearly it’s already meaningless. The bowl games are a joke and the national title is unfair so really, what does that make the regular season?

Besides, that argument doesn’t hold any water because if you had an eight-team playoff system, the regular season would still hold as much value (if not more) because teams would be scrambling to get into the postseason. Two losses could still doom a team if college football had a playoff, just as two losses doom a team now in the current format. We would have the same regular season excitement, but now teams are actually playing for something.

Can we make it any more difficult to crown a champion? No other sport makes it so difficult to figure out what team is the best than in college football. Not the NBA, not the NHL, not college basketball – not the NFL.

Which brings me back to my original opinion – until college football installs a playoff system, it will never be on the same level of the NFL.

I’m not talking about the differences in the two games, because they’re both great. I love football – college, pro, Canadian, Arena, whatever. I’m talking about the two systems. I’m talking about one system that actually crowns a legit champion, compared to the other that crowns a mythical champion who got to play for a title because they looked better on paper than they did on the damn football field.

Texas Longhorns
Boise State, Utah and Ball State are considered BCS schools, but why? They don’t have a legit shot at competing for a national championship, so why even call them BCS schools? Why not stick them in their own division and call them “BCS Schools II”. I’m tired of hearing how these schools don’t play anybody and therefore don’t deserve a shot to win a national championship. Stop assuming that Florida would roll over Boise or that Alabama would demolish Ball State – show me. Prove to me that those teams shouldn’t be on the same field as Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama.

You know what happens in the NFL when you assume one team can beat another? They actually have to prove it on the field. Many assumed last year that the Patriots would blow out the Giants in the Super Bowl. It didn’t happen and it turned out to be one of the greatest Super Bowls in the history of the NFL. We might get a great national championship game, but in the end it’ll just be another great game. It means nothing. Boise didn’t have a chance to win a title and neither did Utah, Ball State or Texas. Hell, even though they had their shot and blew it, USC deserves a chance to play for a national championship, too. But none of those teams will have that chance.

If college football had a playoff system, it would be the most popular game in America (yes, even more popular than the NFL). Even casual college football fans would pay attention more to the regular season because they would know it meant something in the end. But until a postseason is in place, college football will always bow at the feet of the National Football League.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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