NCAA Division 1 Football is only sports league that holds its meaningless exhibition games at the end of the season, rather than the beginning of the season.
Check ’em out: there are 34 college bowl games, beginning with the “New Mexico Bowl” on December 18, right on through the “Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl” on January 9 … and that’s not counting the so-called “BCS National Championship Game” on January 10.
The latter, of course, is a national championship in name only. It will not feature two teams who have had to fight through a playoff process to reach the title game; instead, they will be teams who have been selected through an arbitrary process involving computer rankings and votes from so-called experts, for whom one criterion will no doubt be teams that will produce a large television audience.
More importantly, these two teams will have been IDLE for five or six weeks before the game, rather than playing a series of elimination games building up to a final matchup, the way it’s done in every other league on the planet. Think about it: this is supposedly the most important game of the year, but the teams will have seen no competitive action for more than a month beforehand. During this five or six weeks, the rest of us are supposedly being distracted by farces such as the “Pinstripe Bowl” or the (I kid you not) “Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.” I can’t wait to see the pride on the faces of the players who win that one, walking off the field with their gleaming Beef O’Brady’s trophy to take back to their school’s awards cabinet.
Thirty-five games means 70 teams will be playing “post-season” football this year. Are there 70 post-season-worthy teams in Division 1? A few years ago the NCAA instituted a laughable rule that teams can’t be invited to bowl games unless they win six games during their regular season. Honestly, it would be hard to set that bar any lower. So we now have the spectacle of truly mediocre teams hoping to get their sixth win so they can be “bowl-eligible” and maybe, with a 6-5 record, get an invitation to the “Humanitarian Bowl.”
Forgive us, NCAA, if we don’t watch this dreck.
Actually, the only way this system ever gets changed is if we DON’T watch it. And I don’t mean turning off the “Hawaii Bowl” so we can spend some time with our families on Christmas Eve. That’s an easy call, just as skipping 95 percent of these crappy matchups will be. But we as a sports-fan nation need to go all the way and turn our backs on January 10 when the Anointed Two face off in the so-called championship game. This game is no more meaningful than the other 34 games; it will not produce a true national champion.
I say ignore ’em all. Let that January 10 game have a ratings share of zero. Then maybe the NCAA will wise up and hold a real national championship.