You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? College Football.
The summer came and went so quickly, I hardly had time to break in my new Speedo. Seems like just yesterday I was laying out the many things I hoped to do before Labor Day. I did very few of them. But while the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, at least there is one bright spot that accompanies the autumn months: Football.
The arrival of fall means it’s time to fire up the flat screen and revisit the tradition of ignoring the family on Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately, by the end of September reality kicks in and wives across America let it be known in no uncertain terms that spending an entire weekend firmly planted in the center of the sofa will not be tolerated. Most of us can get away with one day of gluttonous sports self-indulgence, but certainly not two.
Which leaves most of us men with an arduous decision to make: College football or the NFL? For me, it’s a no-brainer. I’ll take the NFL, please.
Now don’t get me wrong, college football is very cute. There’s lots of pageantry, rivalries and tradition. And the crowd shots of drunken co-eds on TV make me fondly remember when I was young enough to drink my weight in cheap beer.
The NFL, on the other hand, is simply the cream of the crop. It’s the best football players, playing the best football in the biggest cities. But more importantly, the National Football League provides fans with the most exciting time of the sports year… the NFL playoffs.
How does college football thank their faithful followers at the end of a grueling season? A football-less month followed by roughly three dozen meaningless bowl games and a championship game whose participants are selected by a computer. Thanks, but no thanks.
The BCS isn’t a playoff system. It’s political trickery that’s perennially packaged and sold to the public as if it were a playoff system. It’s the kind of thing that’s usually created in a Capitol Hill committee room. It’s toothless, watered down, and has the fingerprints of lobbyists all over it. In the case of the BCS, the people lobbying in favor of an antiquated bowl system are the commissioners of major conferences and schools that reside in those conferences.
The BCS is actually very similar to health care in this country, as it currently exists. The vast majority of people would like to see it changed, but unfortunately, there’s too much money to be made by the people running the system. Insurance companies want to maximize profits and are willing to provide a sub par product in order to do that. Sounds like college football to me.
Some BCS supporters claim the regular season acts as a playoff. I find this allegation as hollow and empty as the claim that the United States has the best health care in the world. It’s an insane argument that could only be made by someone whose alma mater is not regularly left out of the championship equation. You’ll certainly never hear it come from the mouths of Utah alumni.
Is establishing a better playoff system in college football as important as reinventing the broken health care system that leaves almost 50 million Americans without coverage? Of course not. I just happen to think these two problems are cut from the same cloth. They’re both dysfunctional arrangements that have been institutionalized for as long as anyone can remember and they both continue to disappoint those not born into a certain type of privilege.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get on my high horse and prepare for a professional football season that’ll focus primarily on gambling odds, prima donna wide receivers and an aging QB who turns the question of his retirement into a running soap opera.