Forget the pageantry, competition and rivalries…

Usually we focus on what we love about college football. The pageantry, excitement, the competition, the rivalries, etc. There’s just so much about the sport we love. For now, let’s get negative and focus on what’s wrong with college football.

It’s wrong that only four teams qualify for the playoffs. Everybody understands that the Bowls have too much input and power. I am not speaking of the top bowls. I am referring to all those ‘other bowls’ which has names nobody even recognizes.

It’s wrong when teams which finish the season with a losing record can qualify for a bowl game. It’s equally wrong teams without a winning record qualify for a bowl game. With the way college football is set up, there are no ties. Bowls should be a reward not a rite of passage.

It’s wrong that approximately two dozen teams have a chance to win the national championship every year. It starts with reputation, it includes what conference you’re in and it ends with the lack of a level playing field in competition and in scheduling. The reality is it’s a guessing game until the last four teams are selected and participate in a playoff.

What’s wrong with college football is that money has become so important and created haves and have-nots. We talked about this before; 130 teams play at the highest level, and about two dozen teams have a chance to win every year? And that’s a generous number. Do you really consider anyone from the group of five as a legitimate contender? And if we did or do, is that on a consistent basis? Never.

That brings us to the biggest problem with college football which is implicit with what we said above. In order to be a “competition”, you desperately need one thing—-PARITY. For point of comparison, what makes the 68 team and NCAA tournament so great? Referred to as March Madness, this past year a number 16 seed defeated a number one seed for the first time ever. However, there have been numerous upsets with the big guys, who never play the little guys, ultimately losing. It’s a one and done tournament and what’s makes March Madness great. There’s parity.

Football, and specifically the CFP, is done over a 13-week season, with teams mostly competing for a conference championship unless you’re Notre Dame and have no affiliation with any conference. I know Alabama did not win their conference championship last year and qualified and even though that’s an aberration, I have reservations about it as well. The Irish only play a 12-game schedule. You knew that. You also know the ACC and SEC only play an eight-game conference schedule. So, the rules are different for many teams. Yet we must choose who belongs next the CFP by how they perform over the course of one year. We’ve written that if 16 teams qualified for a playoff, we’d see so many more competitive games and so many top teams playing each other from different conferences. Rivalries which have been abolished would be resurrected. It’s the shot in the arm college football needs. We’ve spoken about it before and we will speak about it again. Big television and corporate money have jeopardized our chance at parity and it will continue to do so unless restrictions are passed. We’ve said it before; the rich will get richer. This is the most pressing flaw in college football and needs to be addressed before it becomes fatal. We keep writing about this because no one else does. Someday it may be too late to bring the game back to its purest form. There’s nothing wrong with making money, even a lot of money. There is something wrong with stacking the deck. Later this week we’ll talk again about how to fix the game we love. Remember you didn’t just hear it here first, you only heard it here period.


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