Time for a real champion
Auburn University is the national champion and the best team in college football. Or are they?
This week they were 2 seconds and 3 points better than the University of Oregon. Certainly, they are the best in the Southeastern Conference, which can, without much doubt, lay claim to being the best college football conference in the United States, having won five national championships in a row.
But Texas Christian University, an undefeated team that proved its mettle in the post-season, will always wonder whether it could have defeated Auburn or Oregon. TCU, 13-0, defeated Big Ten Conference member University of Wisconsin, 11-1 going into the Rose Bowl, by a score of 21-19.
There were those who thought that Oregon played a weaker schedule than Auburn and couldn’t stay on the same field with the Tigers. Play a weaker schedule, perhaps, but Oregon dominated Auburn in the 1st quarter and forced Auburn to kick a field goal in the final two seconds to break the 19-19 tie and win the game.
Oregon is the real deal and, absent a turn-over or two, might well have defeated Auburn. There are those that believe TCU could never defeat Auburn.
We will never know.
Herein lies the flaw in the BCS Bowl system. Mediocre teams get bowl invitations while teams like TCU never get a real shot at the title.
Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Clemson, Washington, Tennessee, Army, East Carolina, Florida International, Brigham Young University, and the University of Texas at El Paso all have two things in common this year. (1) They all ended the season with six wins and six losses and (2) they all received invitations to play in a bowl game somewhere. Why are 6-6 teams given invitations to bowl games?
For one thing, a 6-6 record just might cost a coach his job at a school that prizes winning. For another, how can a team go to a bowl game knowing that a loss means a losing season? Even if a team wins, how much pride can there be at winning the Toilet Bowl and posting a 7-6 record?
The current BSC system rewards teams that shouldn’t be in bowl games and keeps worthy contenders (like Texas Christian University) away from the top spot.
A playoff system is needed. In the NFL last week, the Seattle Seahawks, a team with a losing record defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. It was an upset of magnificent proportions. The Seahawks were 7-9 going into that game, having posted a losing regular season record.
However, in the NFL playoff system, the Seahawks, should they win all their post-season games, can finish at 11-9 and become 2011 Super Bowl Champs. Can they do it? Well, that’s the beauty of a playoff system. We will find out.
As far as I know, major college football is the only sport in America without a real and honest playoff system. In the playoffs, anything can happen. David can beat Goliath or Goliath can crush all comers.
At the end of the road, however, there is a real champion. No one has to guess who is the best because it has been settled on the field where everyone had a shot — even a Seattle Seahawks.
The Auburn Tigers will wear the national championship rings but there will always be a doubt — were they really the best in the nation or did the best team have to “settle” for the Rose Bowl Championship?
It is time for a real championship playoff system with a real and undisputed champion for major college football.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]