Thursday, August 14, 2014

Should Only Conference Champions Play for the Title?

Should only conference champions qualify for the College Football Playoff?

Since its early beginnings, college football has thrived upon the aspect of regional competition. The schools in their respective regions would form a conference and compete against one another, ultimately crowning the champion of the region "Conference Champions." Following those regional championships, various polls (Associated Press and Coaches' Poll, etc.) would rank the national champion; but, there would be no doubt who was the best locally.

Winning the region mattered more than winning nationally most of the time. Longhorn fans mainly wanted to beat Texas A&M and Oklahoma every year (and vice versa), enthusiastically placing non-conference and sub-par conference teams in the losing column. Just imagine how Alabama fans in the SEC (Roll Tide!) measure the Crimson Tide's success rate, such as basing a "successful" season on if they beat Auburn or LSU. College football is serious, but conference play is even more serious.

With the conference title, your team earns bragging rights for the rest of the year...which is wayyyy more important than a national championship, right? Or, it used to be.

Well, the trend of NCAA National Champions has been very consistent in catering to SEC dominance. In the past 10 years, 9 of those championships have featured a school from the SEC (Southeastern Conference). I'm focusing on this conference because its conference champion (and even runner-up) has almost always been represented in the national championship.

This is why conference play has been so important to college fans, players, and coaches. Win the conference and you have a better shot at vying for the #1 or #2 spot. As for those 3rd place finishers, their consolation prize may be the toughest pill to swallow (playing for 3rd place)...especially those who may finish the season undefeated.

Will the College Football Playoff provide the necessary solution for the issue of "conference favoritism"?

The College Football Playoff has established a selection committee who pick the best teams fit for competition, which means the AP Top 25 Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll mean absolutely nothing.

All we can do is hope the selection committee will bring integrity and a non-bias culture to the college football postseason. Of course, this 13-member committee includes people with ties to different schools but they will not be able to vote for their respective schools in order to remove any bias.

This can be a step in the right direction for college football. Even though four teams will be selected by the committee, there will always be a team who gets the short end of the stick (5th place finisher).
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