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National championship game? Not this year..


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Consider this a call to arms. Not arms, really -- violence is not the answer, of course. This thing is not a big thing, like calling for a general strike for impoverished, abused workers in a Third World country. Really, this probably wouldn't be the place to dispense that kind of information most efficiently anyway. So maybe you should consider this a small cry for a tiny shard of truth, which is a thing nonetheless.

You can't deny that.

Since there is no national championship game in college football this year, let's just stop calling it that.

Now, wasn't that easy?

You didn't have to stop eating something you like, or walk to work, or feel guilty about who made your shirt.

This could be huge. It could spread virally, from common folk like us to the nation's sports editors and broadcasters. Let's give it a shot.

Here's a little story that kind of relates:

One time in the mid-'80s, a friend of mine was walking to class at UC Davis when he came across the usual cacophony of campus protests. One of them had something to do with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and apartheid, another was Campus Crusade for Christ, and a third was a shaggy group of guys walking in circles and chanting something my friend couldn't understand.

As he got closer, he figured it out: They were all yelling, "Dump The DH! Dump The DH!" It was a sophomoric backlash to all the consciousness-raising of the moment, so my friend got in line and started chanting.

This protest is kind of like that one.

There will be a game in January in New Orleans between Ohio State and LSU, and the winner will have no greater claim to the national championship than three or four other teams that finish their season with wins in January.

There is no national championship game. They're going to call it that, for contractual reasons, but that doesn't mean we have to follow along blindly.

This national championship is as mythical as every one before the BCS was invented by that drunk guy in his garage. LSU-Ohio State will not tell you the best team in college football any more than Georgia-Hawaii or Virginia Tech-Kansas or West Virginia-Oklahoma.

If you keep calling it what they want you to call it, they win. So call it something else, like the Mythical Bowl brought to you by That Drunk Guy in his Garage, or something like that.

So stand up for what's right. Speak the truth.

Oh, and the next time someone trots out an anti-playoff argument that includes any reference to the number of games or academics, tell them this:

The Pennsylvania state high school football championships will conclude this weekend. The teams will be playing their 16th game.

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A very good quote from an article I read recently about this:

"Is it so bad that Division I-A is about bowls? Bowl games are a lot of fun and have pleasingly goofy traditions. The fact that sites and dates are determined years in advance makes it practical for people to schedule vacations around bowl trips. Some NFL playoff games don't sell out because the dates and sites are not determined until a week before kickoff, too little time for many potential spectators to make arrangements.

Suppose the top 16 bowls were abolished and replaced with a 16-team Division I-A postseason field building up to a true championship game around New Year's Day, with seedings done strictly by BCS ranking numbers. The first-round games would be this weekend. No. 16, Tennessee, would play No. 1, Ohio State, at -- where? No. 15, Clemson, would play No. 2, LSU, at -- where? The first-round games in such a postseason bracket might be letdowns -- especially in terms of crowds, if, say, LSU versus Clemson were played in Tempe, Ariz., to compensate organizers for the loss of the Insight Bowl. Stadium arrangements and hotel logistics aren't an issue for Division I-AA, where 20,000 people in attendance makes the gate a success. Sure, if a bracket-format Division I-A postseason were launched, we'd adjust. But there would be a lot of nostalgia for the bowls, with their years-in-advance scheduling that solves so many logistical problems.

The fact that the bowl format solves those logistical problems, which don't exist for any college sport other than big-deal football, might be why bowls evolved in the first place. Pundits constantly protest that all college sports except Division I-A football build up to a true championship. All college sports except Division I-A football have manageable logistics!

To keep the natural selection metaphor, bowls evolved to fill an environmental niche. They solve the late-season logistics problem. Since bowls are synthetic proceedings in which conference rules don't apply, you can stage as many as you want. Currently there are 32 Division I-A bowls, which means that annually 64 big-boy teams get to participate in a season-ending game that confers a title -- the Meineke Car Care Bowl 2007 champion! -- and is shrouded in hoopla. That means basically half of Division I-A advances to a season-ending hoopla event, with one-quarter of Division I-A seasons ending with a huge-hoopla victory. In the NFL, two-thirds of the teams do not advance to any postseason event and just one team ends its season with a huge victory. Thus the bowl system spreads the razzle-dazzle around to a large number of teams, and allows large numbers to say their seasons yielded a final triumph. That's the college spirit!"

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In the NFL, two-thirds of the teams do not advance to any postseason event and just one team ends its season with a huge victory. Thus the bowl system spreads the razzle-dazzle around to a large number of teams, and allows large numbers to say their seasons yielded a final triumph. That's the college spirit!"

At least the NFL has unquestioned finality. Any rationalization of anything other than a playoff for college football is ********.

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