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Confessions of a selfish, BCS-ignoring college football fan

We just experienced an election year in this country and nothing can garner attention quite like an election. Thank goodness!

For those of you like me that follow college football closely, you full well know that talk about the Bowl Championship Series, or BCS, has given even the election a run for its money in media overkill. Maybe that's why the Orange Bowl "national championship" game was played on a Tuesday night.

Most every "expert" that I read on the Internet or hear on television hates the BCS system of selecting a national college football champion. Even many political pundits have weighed in on the subject like there was no war, terrorism or crooked United Nations to worry about. I suppose it shows how big sports is in our lives.

I am a big-time college football fan, and if you've read this column twice before you know my allegiance. With that said, I've spent all of 0.6 seconds worrying about the BCS or a national championship.

Even with Division 1-A football being the only NCAA sport at any level that does not decide its champion on the field or court, I just can't make myself care. Some in the media make me wonder if their tirades on the matter mean they've drifted from just doing their jobs to a certain level of obsession. What ever happened to hot button issues of passion like save the seals and global warming?

If my team is fortunate enough to go undefeated, sure it would be nice to have a chance to play for a true national championship, but not if I can't be there. To me a national championship playoff system would turn into a series of Super Bowls worried more about sponsorship cash than the true fans of the participating schools.

My point is I am selfish. Like many college football fans, I like to be there when my team plays. If a playoff system of more than two games is created, fans of the schools that advance all the way to the championship game will be left out in the cold. Even if one could afford to fly across country on a week's notice, tickets would only be available in small blocks for the real fans.

An example is the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Less than one-third of the seats are held for the two schools' highest contributing ticket buyers. The rest go to corporate sponsors, politicians, and the administrations of other conference schools. A few are sold to the general public whose names have been in the till since 1992 just to make it look good. I submit playoff games would be the same way.

I know that doesn't sound like much of an argument against a true playoff, especially with a goofy system like the BCS in its stead. That's my argument though, and I'm sticking to it.

I won't even mention that I doubt most coaches and players would relish the grind and pressure of trying to make the playoff field every year. Just think of all the "bubble" teams that like basketball won't make the bracket. It too would be a mess if a good team was bypassed by some selection committee in a New York hotel room, especially if it were an ESPN darling like certain schools are. That still has a BCS ring to it to me.

I can also make you this promise. BCS, playoffs or not, if my favorite team ever goes undefeated and wins the SEC and a major bowl game, they will be national champions in a certain small frame house on an acre lot in at least one corner of Georgia.

I don't have a problem with fans, coaches and players of all schools taking the same attitude. We shouldn't need a talking head in a TV studio in some big city to tell us that.

Web posted on Thursday, January 6, 2005


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