A team with a record equivalent to the 9-7 Tennessee Titans just won the biggest game in all of sports and we as college football fans are supposed to be okay with that and clamor for an NFL-like playoff system? The New York Giants (9-7) won the Super Bowl one season after finishing 10-6 and not even making the playoffs. Green Bay made last season's playoffs with a 10-6 record by winning the tie-breaker with the Giants to get in and won the Super Bowl.
Are you telling me an 11-1 Alabama vs. a 13-0 LSU was not as good as a playoff? Maybe it isn't. But wanting a system equal to that of the NFL would destroy college football or at least give us reason to sleep September through November. Please refer to NCAA Basketball's regular season.
Casual college football fans drool at the thought of a playoff system similar to that of the NFL, but what sport's regular season other than college basketball is more useless than the NFL? It really doesn't matter right now because the NFL rules the roost at the moment. However, I can see a day where people burn out on the NFL because winning a Super Bowl is no longer special. It's become a "Who's turn is it this year" type of championship. Nearly every team has about a three-to-five year window where they have a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl.
Parody sounds great and wide open at first glance, but eventually when the David vs. Goliath angle is no longer a factor, people will stop watching. When's the last time you really felt there was an upset in the NFL? Even when the Patriots lost their perfect season in Super Bowl XLII, no one really felt it was an upset. It was almost as if it was as difficult for a team to finish an entire season undefeated as it was for a team with six losses to beat a team that hadn't lost in over a year.
That's why the NCAA tournament works -- at least for the first weekend. How many Final Four teams can you identify from the previous five seasons? How many upsets and buzzer beaters do you remember from the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament over the past five seasons? Did you name more upsets than you did Final Four participants? I did.
The regular season is useless in any sport where a one-game playoff is utilized. NFL, NCAA basketball, and every college football division other than the FBS -- they all share the risk that a team that was dominant for three months of a regular season can be beaten in one off-night. Ask Kansas how many times they've been the best team watching the NCAA Final Four from their dorm room.
The MLB is criticized for the best-of-five format used in the Divisional round of the playoffs. BEST OF FIVE. A playoff is only a legitimate method to determine a true champion in a seven-game series format. If not seven, at least best-of-five. The regular season may become long and drawn out in the NHL, NBA, or MLB, but if a team can beat another team three or four times, that team can honestly be looked upon as superior to his opponent.
Alabama was looked upon as an unworthy champion of college football in 2011 because they didn't win a playoff. They won a rematch with a team that had already beaten them in November in Tuscaloosa. Although I'm against college football "playoffs," I'm all for a final four format. Two games between the top four teams is not a playoff. The regular season still means something and the extra game to determine the champion only strengthens the legitimacy of the title rather than water it down.
The NFL is currently the most popular sport in America. Casual fans can kill a sport, however. Owners begin catering more to casual fans with more interest in the social side of the game and no real dog in the hunt while the diehard fan of a specific team is forgotten.
Ask diehard NASCAR fans that spent their last dollar to spend a weekend at Talladega before Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001. NASCAR was a niche sport that was unashamed to fight for Bubba's last discretionary dollar had gone from a redneck sport to a corporate world darling in the mid-2000s. NASCAR traded Bubba's red neck for a white collar. Bubba and most of his friends didn't like the new NASCAR, thus the sport is losing its audience more and more each year now that Corporate Guy would rather watch football on Sundays instead of racin'.
Sure, NASCAR begins a week after the Super Bowl, but it's biggest "playoff" to determine a champion -- Chase for the Sprint Cup -- takes place in the heart of the NFL regular season. Any casual audience that might have watched a few races is exhausted and ready to give birth to a new sport by the time NASCAR's gestation of a season ends.
Are playoffs inherently evil? No, of course not. There is, however, becoming a disconnect between the regular season and playoffs that grows larger and larger each season where a team's season can end in one game. Do you watch more or less January and early February college basketball on television than you did ten years ago? Would you rather see a 9-7 team win the Super Bowl once every 25 years or every two or three?
The answers to the above questions probably lie in your generational demographic, but one thing has become apparent. Social media technology is not only changing the world around us. It's changing us. We are changing as consumers, employees, employers, and last but not least, fans. We want everything now and we all want a chance at greatness. The NFL gives us that. So maybe in ten years the NFL and NCAA tournament will be bigger than ever because it fits that mold.
If I'm not right in my assumptions above, I'll be just like the Fonze. I'll admit that "I'm Wro... wro.. wro..."
If you don't know who the Fonze is... I'll just pretend those people don't exist.Back to the Alabama Crimson Tide Newsfeed