It’s the most wonderful week of the year, as ESPN reminds us 20 times a day. That is it’s college football bowl season. I am primarily interested in the outcome of games involving ACC teams.

In the BCS games, I predict:

College football is a particular passion/ hobby of mine. An I am not alone, judging by the money made in it. This time of year you will hear many a sports journalist go on their yearly crusade to decide a “true champion” by a playoff. That would be the worst development possible. Bowl games are a unique, market driven, community led American insitution that would not be duplicated anywhere else in the world.

Essentially exibition games, usually between student-athletes of schools that would rarely face each other; bowls offer fans the opportunity for a little winter travel, athletes the opportunity to be rewarded for amatuer athletics and to usually partake in activities to assist the less-fortunate in children’s hospitals, and for communities to share some civic pride in a winter festival after Christmas. All positive things that bring good to many, for all their crass commercialism and indulgence at times.

A playoff in the sport would add the worst sort of modernity. Treating amatuer athletes in a more mechanical fashion than they already are would turn the sport even more away from the athletes and more towards the accountants and the demands of the disinterested fan. Having been to three of these bowls in my life, I’ve seen first hand how they honor the best in athletic competition and maintain a teaching element for the players.

The Knight Foundation – whose findings I will write more later – has written for more fairness in the current set-up, including academic reforms. I hope their efforts are succesful. Any academic reforms will be much harder to put in place if there were ever a playoff system, with its introduction of money and winner-take-all systems.

Advertisements