Ever since Alabama rolled over Clemson in the second College Football Playoff semifinal I’ve been struggling to come up with why I hated that game, the College Football Playoff, and just the whole idea of the bowl system in general.
And after going back-and-forth on that idea, the simplest reason I can come up with is this: Nobody outside of six teams has a shot.
If you’re not Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, and then whatever other one or two teams from a Power Five conference have their year where it all comes together, you will never get to play for the “National Title.”
The only discussion over the past week has been about the University of Central Florida, who capped off a 13-0 season with an impressive, decisive win over Auburn, who just happened to beat both Georgia and Alabama, the two teams left if the CFP. The Knights have since claimed that they are the National Champions for the season, which makes sense since they are the only undefeated team left, and when you consider that school claim national titles they didn’t win all the time. Looking at you Alabama.
Despite all that they finished 12th in the final CFP poll, or, behind eight other teams who all had at least one loss, nowhere near getting a spot in the CFP.
And that’s where my problem comes in.
It seems absurd to me that a team could go undefeated, win its conference handily…and be passed over not just to play for the title, but for the playoff. Division 1 FBS College football is the only sport in the world where that can happen. College hoops, if you went 30-0 in the regular season, won your league tournament, you absolutely get a shot to play for the National Title by getting an invite to the NCAA Tournament. It does not matter if you play in the SWAC or the SEC, you go undefeated, you get a spot.
Do what UCF did in football at any other level, and they’re in that respective division’s playoff with a chance to play for the title.
And then the powers that be in college football pretend that a trip to the Peach Bowl or a trip to the Cotton Bowl, like Western Michigan got last year, is enough of a reward and that these small schools like UCF and WMU should be grateful they were given that little bit of a gift.
And that’s my issue with the whole bowl system, if you have a great season, by your school or conference’s standards, and aren’t a traditional college football power, you have no chance at playing for the National Title and never will.
When I was in college at Central Michigan they had the best season in school history. They went 11-2 in the regular season, including 8-0 in conference play, winning the conference championship game. What did they get for being the best team in school history and undefeated conference champions? A trip to the GMAC Bowl.
That’s a joke. If you have the best season in school history, there should be some reward other than a shitty bowl game on a Wednesday night in front of 20,000 people in some exotic location like Shreveport.
Now, I’m not saying the CMU or WMU or even UCF this year would roll over Alabama, Clemson, or whoever else and win the National Title, but they should at least be given that chance to prove that they earned their spot in the playoff. Shit, Alabama finished third in its own league, didn’t even make the conference title game, and yet, there they are playing for another title.
It makes me wonder why the hell these small schools keep playing at the Division 1 FBS level when they know in their minds that they have no chance at ever playing for the National Title, all because 100 years ago they either didn’t exist or weren’t invited to the SEC, Big Ten, ACC or whatever other league that up and decided they are college football royalty.