Rationality is overrated, long live chaos

Soon the top division of college football will have its very own national championship “playoff.”  Starting in 2014 a four team playoff will decide the best football team in all the land.

Everywhere college football writers, pundits, talking heads, and various hangers on have decided this is the best thing to ever happen to the sport.  While I agree it is somewhat better that we will now have a definitive national champion, I wonder does it matter or is it even necessary to have a definitive champion in college football.

Where is it written that all questions have to have perfect answer?  As maddening as it was/is that there is no mechanism for the NCAA to figure out the national champion of football in its top division part of the draw to college football is its messiness and irrationality.

College football is about two things to me: the passion of the alumni/fans and the anticipation of what a 19 year old American male will do on Saturday afternoon in front of 75,000 people.  One of my favorite college football writers is Ivan Maisel and he is fond of saying one of the reasons he loves college football is that the players are always 19 and stupid.  Think about it, your favorite college football team’s fortunes on any given Saturday can depend on whether your starting quarterback is worried about his blitz reads or that his girlfriend broke up with him the night before.

Why do we expect the outcomes of the season to be rational whey a lot of the game outcomes are completely irrational and more importantly why do we want it to be more like the NFL.

Many sportswriters and sports fans (notice, not college football fans) have been the loudest for the playoff because they want college football to be more like the NF:  A rational sport with, for the most part, rational outcomes.  The NFL is rationality, corporate, and bureaucratic sport on the planet.  However, outside of some pockets it does not cause the level of messy lunacy that college football does.

Look, the NCAA’s reasoning behind not wanting a full football playoff like those in every other division is absurd.  You cannot claim that you are worried about the players missing classes when you allow conferences and television networks to play games Tuesday-Thursday at night.  What about West Virginia having conference games in the state of Texas in consecutive weeks?

For these presidents to argue that they are putting academics before football by not establishing a full lucrative playoff is laughable.  We have long ago established just what the college presidents are.  Now they are just arguing over the price.

I will watch the new playoff system.  It will be fun and it will be at least two great games.  However, I always cheer for chaos, messiness, and irrationality.  Those make life more fun.  I would bet the best times of everyone’s sporting life has been that random occurrence that gave their team some unexpected win.  The world is a better place because we don’t always know what will happen next and I think college football more than any other sport gives us that feeling.  It would be a shame to lose that.


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