Have you noticed that our institutions of higher learning do a lot of stupid things?
There’s no better example of that stupidity than the new playoff system that will pick this year’s major college football “champion.”
The fact that it’s only about 98% as stupid as the system that was in place since 1998 doesn’t mean it’s not still really stupid.
The Bowl Championship Series, which was introduced 16 years ago, was 99% as stupid as the system that dates back to the days of Pop Warner and Knute Rockne. What’s sad is that the four team playoff that will take place after this season has been embraced by 99% of the national sports media.
The BCS used polls and computer rankings to determine the top two teams in the country and had them play for the “championship.” I’ll bet you didn’t know that the NCAA actually used astrophysicists to interpret the data. That’s right. They turned picking a sports champion into rocket science.
The 2014 “champion” will be determined by a playoff between the top four teams at the end of the season, which would be fine if those four teams were determined, you know, on the field of play.
Nope. The geniuses at the NCAA have a 13 person committee that includes current athletic directors, former coaches and players and a former Secretary of State.
Condoleeza Rice and 12 other people will meet every week and they’ll list the Top 25 teams every Tuesday, beginning October 28th. The top four teams at the end of the season will play for the “championship.”
It’s just a more roundabout way to vote for a championship instead of having the teams play for one.
And it’s still stupid.
And it will be a Mythical Champion.
How will these 13 really smart people make this stupid idea work?
- Each committee member will create a list of the 25 teams he or she believes to be the best team in the country, in no particular order. Teams listed by three or more members will remain under consideration.
- Each member will list the best six teams, in no particular order. The six teams receiving the most votes will comprise the pool for the first seeding ballot.
- In the first seeding ballot, each member will rank those six teams, one through six, with one being the best. The three teams receiving the fewest points will become the top three seeds. The three teams that were not seeded will be held over for the next seeding ballot.
- The 13 committee members will compete in a round-robin arm wrestling tournament with the winner awarded the honor of picking the best team in the country.
Okay, I made that last one up, but there are two more steps. Are you interested in hearing them? Didn’t think so.
The champion of every other major team sport on the planet is decided on the field of play and the NCAA could pick its football champion the same way, especially now that the Power 5 conferences have separated themselves from the rest of the riffraff.
Have the champions of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, ACC and three wildcard teams (chosen from the Power 5 using a formula based on wins and losses) play off in an eight-team tournament.
In other words, keep it simple, stupid.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter.