DI college football: not worth watching
Stop watching college football. Why waste a perfectly good Saturday afternoon? Or if you do, do me a favor: write your local congressman and tell him or her that the college game stinks.
Why the negative attitude? I hate the Bowl Championship Series and its twisted reign on college football. Instead of watching teams decide the outcome of the season, we anxiously await for a computer program to release a cryptic numerical analysis.
Case in point: the Miami Hurricanes are the number-one ranked team in the nation with an aggregate BCS total of 3.69. The number-two ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, however, are right on the Canes' tale with a total of 3.70. Gee, I wonder if the Buckeyes can pick up that .01 this weekend!
How do you pick up a fraction of a point in a football game? An extra point is worth one point, a safety is worth two, a field goal is worth three, and a touchdown is worth a whopping six. That's the real math for a football game.
However, the BCS system provides a more complicated equation-evidently, a simple score is not sufficient. First of all, a panel of seven "experts" ranks each college team subjectively. Peter Wolfe and the ambiguous New York Times are two of the faces sitting in the bench of judgment.
Welcome to your high school's prom queen and king contest. Essentially, the highest ranked teams beat up big-time on the chumps (losers of your high school), garner media attention, and have few blemishes on their record. The popularity contest has begun!
A simple average is taken of the "expert" rankings of each team. To lend authenticity, the BCS website calls this process a "Computer Average." I mean, a human being could not possibly add up seven numbers and divide by seven.
After this calculation is completed (by a computer, thankfully), we have the "Schedule Strength" category, which produces another important number. Of course, it is a fraction once again. By calculating the cumulative win/loss record of a team's opponents as well as the team's opponents' opponents, you somehow can get this ranking if you divide it by 25. Confused yet? Me too.
Currently, the University of Southern California has the toughest schedule in college football. How do I know this? The BCS computer declares that the Trojans have a .04 ranking for schedule strength. On the other hand, Kansas State has a ranking of 2.20.
Next, comes the only bias-free category: "Losses." For each loss, a team receives one point. But remember, the BCS is like golf in that points are bad. You want a low score.
Finally, the BCS has its "Quality Win Component." If a team were to beat the number one ranked Hurricanes, it would receive a score of -1. If that same team were to beat the number ten ranked Texas Longhorns, it would receive a negative one-tenth of a point.
Mercifully, the BCS' string of ambiguity ends here-as a reward, we receive a "Total" mess. Combine a "Computer Average," "Schedule Strength," "Losses," "Quality Win Component," and you get the outcome of the NCAA college football season. Doesn't this strike you as wrong?
What happens on Saturday doesn't really matter in the end. Fans should stop wasting their time praying for a miracle on the field-the real battle happens within a computer that spews out a fate-deciding number.
Keith Jackson shouldn't be announcing the game! He should be giving us the play-by-play of the computer calculations. Can't you just hear him? "Oh Nelly! The Buckeyes come up .01 short to the Canes!"
I'll start watching college football when the NCAA gives the boot to the BCS and adopts a playoff system. Critics are quick to point out that the NCAA makes millions by selling the naming rights of bowl games to the likes of Nokia, Tostitos, and FedEx. Thus, college football would never part with its corporate sponsors.
Complacently, we accept the fact that the best football on New Year's Eve and Day is essentially the Corporate Coup. Regardless of your suasions on capitalism, its grip of the sport is undeniable.
However, its effects need not taint the sport or drive away would-be spectators. If college football were to adapt a 32-team, five-week playoff system, many of its problems would be solved. A truly national champion would emerge without the help of a computer program, and corporate America could promote the winter version of March Madness.
Additionally, the NCAA could push Nokia, Tostitos, and FedEx into an absurd bidding war to secure advertising rights for the real national championship game. The college game would produce more money, while attracting a broader fan base.
Or, we could continue to monitor the outcome of a math equation. No offense to math majors: I know you love what you do. It's just that I love sports, and that's what I want to watch. Is that so much to ask?