A BCS, SEC, “Game of the Century” Dinner Debate
Sunday I met up and ate dinner with a close friend at one of my favorite Fayetteville restaurants, Noodles. We had a wonderful carb filled dinner, and as our bellies filled the conversation turned toward our most common denominator: college football.
This was a friend I’ve known since elementary school. When we were in our senior year and choosing colleges, he gave a presentation about the UA, and one of his biggest selling points was that the Razorbacks played in the Southeastern Conference.
This same friend stayed home rather than join me in the stands last year when the Razorbacks played the South Carolina Gamecocks for homecoming. Instead, he stayed at his house, hooked up two televisions and simultaneously watched the Arkansas-South Carolina game and the Alabama-LSU game.
While we doodled on the paper table cloth, he talked about that Nov. 5 “Game of the Century” and said it was the best football game he has ever seen.
I had to forgive him for only being alive for 21 years, else he could have watched some of the wonderful football played in the 1980s before the NCAA made celebration a violation of the rules.
He proceeded to call me a sorry excuse for an SEC girl because I prefer touchdowns to field goals, and I thought that the “Game of the Century” proved not that each team had a stunning defense, but rather an under-developed or under-utilized offense.
The conversation turned to a topic that we both agreed on: the dominance of the SEC in college football. After happily agreeing with each other, we hit another roadblock, the 2014 change to a four-team playoff for the National Championship.
He was of the disposition that the NCAA should increase the number of teams in the playoff. He gave the example of a 16-team single-elimination bracket, which would give fans a souped-up version of the bowl season.
There’s a few distinct problems with his proposition, and despite the sparkle in his eye when he explained his 16-team playoff, I cannot agree with him.
First, even the NFL playoffs use less than 16 teams. Yes, there are only 32 teams in the NFL, while there are 124 Division I FBS teams.
However, a 16-team playoff would result in 15 games, and unlike baseball or basketball, football teams can’t turn around the very next day and play again. Also, unlike the NFL, the college football season isn’t structured over a four-week period that would allow for the necessary scheduling.
Finally, the 15 games take the place of 15 games that could be played during a typical bowl season. Rather than 30 teams playing in those 15 games, only 16 teams would get to play and 14 teams would be left hanging.
So, before you start to complain that the college football championship system is broken, really think out the repercussions that any changes may have.
Kristen Coppola is the Sports Editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Thursday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.