If the one person reading this remembers from my intro post, I would cover on occasion more that just the sport of Basketball. Now, within a month we will begin to see the product of months of recruiting, training and practice. In due time, I’ll be packed into a 56,000 seat stadium in the sweltering Tucson heat, anticipating the first time we can see the end result of this product. The College Football Season is just around the corner and we have a lot to be prepared for. Last season was a historic one as the world was given a new playoff system that proved to be quite entertaining. Could we expand it? Should we expand it? All I know is that it was a start to something great. There were some great story lines from the first kickoff, to the last whistle of the season. We saw a team with their 3rd string Quarterback lead them to a National Title with three crucial wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon in Ohio State. We saw the SEC dominate for the vast majority of the year. We were blessed with a Pac 12 South that was just almost as good as anything the SEC produced. And we were fortunate enough to have another year of Jamies Winston’s shenanigans.
But last year is over a new year is about to be dawned upon us. We must forget the past and prepare for the future. This year has high hopes for so many teams and fans. For someone like myself, I have my beloved Arizona Wildcats to be excited about as they look to defend their Pac 12 South title against a very hungry and talented Southern division. Ohio State fans are looking to defend their National title and figure out which talented QB will lead them to victory. The SEC is looking to continue their successes while also attempting to uproot the dominance that Alabama has shown, while the Big 12 looks to break into the playoffs after TCU and Baylor’s short comings last year. But the terrain is changing and teams, fans, and the media must adapt to the new revolution. College football has changed so much in the last 10 years and even has had major changes in the last couple of years.
The game that we know and love so much, not talking about basketball this time, has been trying to keep up with the times desperately and maybe has found its answer. The first ever College Football Playoffs was an instant success and will continue to be. The National Championship game between Oregon and Ohio State was ESPN‘s highest rated program ever, with an 18.5 rating. It was a great game and now we can definitively say that a team is truly the best in the nation. The path to championships will never be the same. No longer will there be questions of whether or not a team deserved to be number 1 or number 2, no longer will we have ties for the National Champion, even though we haven’t since 1998. But the biggest change is that we will see less and less of undefeated teams and if we do, it will no longer hold the same significance that it once had in previous years. Last year Florida State was actually punished for being undefeated as they were the 4th seed heading into the inaugural College Football Playoffs. Recently, and especially with the new development of the playoff system, being undefeated represents a weak conference rather than the strength of the individual team. In the case of Florida State, yes they were talented and yes they had just won the National Championship the year before, but this is a new era. The Seminoles played in a weak ACC and were barely able to win games and those who doubted their positioning were proven correct as they were absolutely demolished by Oregon in the first playoff game. This is the reason I wanted to post about football rather than just solely addressing basketball.
In the last 10 years, conference realignment has been reshaping the dynamics of the College Football world. We really have only Nebraska to blame for this as they were the first to jump ship in recent football history. Ever since, we saw the collapse of the old Big East, the near but yet still imminent end to the Big 12 and the PAC 8 go to the PAC 10, to the PAC 12. Hell, the BIG 10 has 14 teams! That makes no sense. With teams yearning to make it into the public spot light and work their way into larger conferences, because everything dwindles down to money, we are now seeing conferences growing and becoming not only larger but way more competitive. The first addition to this strengthening of college football terrain is the adaptation of the Conference Championship Game. Now virtually every conference has one except the Big 12; who disbanded theirs in 2010 when Texas A&M, Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri left. For teams looking for more then just a bowl game and are focused on the playoffs, the conference tournament is an additional battleground to prove superiority in the ever changing landscape that is college football. Pat Haden, Athletic Director at USC, had recently said that it is no longer the same to win a National title as it was for Pete Carroll, who won 3 National Championships with the school. Haden made the point that Pete Carroll did not have two divisions separating the PAC 10 conference. He only had to deal with 9 other teams rather than 11. He only had to play 8 conference games, rather than the current 9. If USC was the best team in the PAC 10 then they were set for the Rose Bowl and maybe even a National Championship. Now, in order for a team to be the top dog, they first have to win the division which requires an additional game to be played with the additional teams, they must win their division and now they must win a conference championship. And to add to the difficulty, if your team is talented and lucky enough to make it that far, you have to play not one, but two posts-season games in order to be crowned National Champions.
We must forget what it means to be undefeated because it is now unreasonable. The only way that being undefeated matters is if you are an SEC team blowing out all the other team while all of the other teams are still ranked, and frankly that is just impossible. We may see Ohio State go undefeated this year and make the playoffs, which would totally blow up my theory but with Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin all on the rise, this might be the last time we will ever witness undefeated supremacy. Loosing is no longer detrimental anymore and there are so many games that if you are an SEC West team or a PAC 12 South team, your chances of loosing at least one game are great but your chances of being amongst the college football elite are just as great. The new developments and additions to the game have made the sport more exciting and more lovable. And for this reason, this is why we love college football.