THE BEAUTY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL
By mark rogers
December 6, 2008
All anybody has been talking about for the last seven days (except OU fans) is how terrible, traumatic and agonizingly horrible the BCS and Big 12 Conference treated Texas when they allowed OU to represent the Big 12 South in the conference title game.
I'm not saying I'm thrilled with how it all worked out, but to tell you the truth? I'm not that outraged.
That's how college football works, and it's what makes it so dramatic and interesting. It's why college football is my favorite sport and nothing else even comes close.
College football has ALWAYS been unfair and mistreated teams. People are acting like what happened to Texas has never happened to any other football team in the history of the universe.
Now, I can understand why UT players, coaches, alum and others involved with the program are outraged. And they should be. But looking at it from a historical perspective...it's the same story, different year.
Going just a few years back the Auburn Tigers were 12-0 at the end of the 2004 regular season having just won the hard-nosed, punch-you-in-the-neck SEC. The problem? OU and USC also won their conferences and were both undefeated.
You don't think Auburn fans hated the college football system and the BCS that year? USC obliterated OU in the BCS Championship and Auburn beat ACC champ Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. That scenario didn't help because after the bowls it sure looked like Auburn would have put up more of a fight against the Trojans than OU did.
How about this one...2001, Oregon beats in-state rival Oregon State on Decemeber 1 to improve to 10-1 and is the #4 ranked team in the AP. Highly ranked Texas loses to Colorado in the Big 12 Championship so Oregon should move up to #2 and play Miami in the National Championship. Nebraska, ranked #4 in the AP, jumps to #2 in the BCS after not even winning their division and gets slaughtered by the Canes 37-14.
You don't think Oregon got hosed on that deal? They finished the season #2 in the AP and didn't get a chance to play the #1 team.
Let's go back a few years...
1966. Alabama is the two-time defending national champs. Ranked #3 late in the year with no loses or ties, Bama gets to watch #1 Notre Dame and #2 Michigan State play to a tie. It would make sense that Bama would move to #1 and claim its third straight championship.
But the rankings remained the same and Notre Dame was crowned the champion...figure that one out. You don't think that was unfair?
However, that season was seen by many as retribution for the 1964 season when Alabama was crowned national champion even though they lost to Texas in the Orange Bowl.
In that season Arkansas finished the regular season 10-0-0 and #2 in the AP. One of those 10 wins was against conference rival, Texas.
The Razorbacks beat #7 Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl and improved to 11-0-0. With the Bama loss to Texas (a team Arkansas defeated during the season) they ended up 10-1.
BUT THERE WERE NO MORE AP RANKINGS AFTER THE BOWLS BACK THEN!!!
That year it was Arkansas' turn to throw a fit and claim that the system was unfair. Can you imagine the outrage if that was the case today?
I could go on and on and on, but I think I've made my point.
College football has made strides in the naming of its yearly champion (at least they have polls AFTER the final bowl games!), but if it wasn't working and people thought it was so outrageous, it wouldn't be one of the most popular sports with the most passionate fan base in the history of America.
The reason it's so popular is because it's interesting...it's dramatic. It gives people something to discuss, to argue over, to buy planes with banners behind them and fly them over their rivals' stadiums.
It's why Texas Tech fans camped out at Jones Stadium for a week prior to the Texas game. It's why the college football TV ratings absolutely shatter ratings for college basketball, NBA, MLB and every other sport besides the NFL. It's why the list of the Top 20 largest arenas in the world is dominated by college football stadiums. It's why in some states the head coach of the biggest college football team is the highest paid public person in the entire state. It's why I watch (or should I say my wife allows me to watch) more than 30 games every week during the regular season.
That's the beauty of college football. Sure it can be unbelievably unfair...but I wouldn't want it any other way.
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