Doug Robinson: College football's format for deciding national title is, literally, a no-brainer
Gerald Herbert, AP
A recent study indicates that human beings might be gradually losing intelligence. According to a Stanford geneticist, once we started to live in agricultural settlements, we lost the evolutionary need or pressure to increase our smarts. Bottom line: We might be slowly evolving into less intelligent people than our ancestors.
We is dumber than we used to be.
So that explains it. College football, I mean.
That explains why, after more than a century of playing football, nobody's been able to figure out a sane, rational way to crown a national collegiate champion and conduct the game in an organized, sensible fashion ?— and these are people who, you know, GO TO COLLEGE.
Cavemen could have figured all this out, but not men of the 20th and 21st centuries with their shrinking brainpower.
This explains the BCS.
Dwindling brainpower explains how the NCAA lost control of college football years ago to profiteers from the Bowl Coalition, the Bowl Alliance and now the Bowl Championship Series, and fomented the ongoing turf war.
It explains the current state of affairs in the college game, which can only be described as anarchy, with every team fending for itself and conferences picking over other conferences like vultures on a dead rat. Realignment, they call it. Others might call it hostile takeover. The latest: Maryland cut its 59-year tie to the ACC to flee to the Big 12. Rutgers followed. On Tuesday, East Carolina and Tulane left Conference USA to join the Big East, which is expected to lose either UConn or Louisville to replace Maryland in the ACC.
Can anybody even keep track of all the address changes? After a half century of play, the Western Athletic Conference is giving up football following this season — it won't have enough teams after being picked over by the big boys. Some think the Big East and ACC are headed the same way.
Nothing makes sense anymore. Utah didn't play BYU last weekend — Rivalry Week. Beginning in 2014, they won't play annually. Meanwhile, Utah has moved up to college football's penthouse, leaving behind its poor relations, and BYU is a free agent.
Dwindling intelligence explains the newly proposed four-team playoff, which, despite all the hoopla, is barely better than the current system. People think college football has finally come to its senses with this playoff business. Wrong. But we'll come to that in a few paragraphs (I'm trying to explain this slowly to allow your tiny brains to comprehend it and my tiny brain to explain it).
The Shrinking Intelligence Theory also explains why the unbeaten Ohio State Buckeyes cannot play for the national championship and why their season is done. Remember, some of their players — horror of horrors! — exchanged memorabilia for tattoos and cash, including a whopping $2,500 for one player! — in clear violation of the NCAA's rules for its student-athlete minimum wage earners, which is this: Only the NCAA, BCS, bowl fatcats, TV networks, conferences and schools can make money on the athletes' sweat, not players, including the sale of their private property.
(Remember, the NCAA allowed Ohio State to play in the Sugar Bowl last year despite the violations. This is a penalty of convenience for the NCAA, which is why this year's group of players is paying for the error.)
If nothing else, the Buckeyes will do us all a favor. There could be a split national champion, since the AP poll is not bound to vote for the winner of the BCS's so-called national championship game.
Anything that creates problems for the status quo is good.
Now, back to those playoffs: You're thinking all will be well when the playoff starts in 2014. Not even close. It will still be tilted in favor of the elite and stack the deck against half of the nation's teams.
Instead of choosing two teams for the championship game, it will choose four for the playoff — not much of an improvement. The NCAA basketball tournament committee selects 68 teams. A football committee will have to choose four teams out of 125 schools. Good luck. The selections will still be based on polls, computer data, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, scores, blah ... blah ... blah ...
Remember, it wasn't long ago that college football thought it was doing us all a big favor simply by — and this was such a revolutionary concept at the time — matching the top two ranked teams in the SAME BOWL GAME. This is their next Big Idea.
The bottom line: It's still the SEC's game and everybody else has to like it. Two weeks ago, Alabama — ranked No. 1 at the time — lost to Texas A&M and slipped all the way to, ugh, No. 4. A week later, the Crimson Tide returned to No. 2 and almost all has been forgiven for that loss. It's not what you do, it's who you are and who you know.
SEC schools are ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 4 —Alabama, Georgia, Florida, respectively. Does anybody really believe Georgia and Florida are better than Oregon, which didn't receive as much forgiveness for its one loss (in overtime to Stanford) as the SEC teams for their one loss? For the eighth straight year, the national championship game will feature a SEC team. If the playoff were held this year, three of the four teams would be from the SEC.
Blame it all on shrinking intelligence.
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