Well another season of college football has come and gone and for most of us it has left a wake of shattered hopes and broken dreams in its path. Auburn outlasted Oregon and won the BCS championship. However, we still do not have a national champion. This year’s bowl season only solidified the fact that we need a play-off system in our highest division of college football. TCU, the Crimson Tide, Oklahoma, Stanford and LSU all proved that they had some great football left in them, and had we a play-off, we would have gotten to see some excellent matchups. Here’s what we learned from college football this season.
The NCAA wore its corruption and incompetence on its sleeve this year. Let’s be clear, Ohio State’s best players beat Arkansas’ best players, but the problem is five of Ohio States best players shouldn’t have been on the field. The NCAA suspended them for the first five games next year for violating NCAA rules, yet for some inexplicable reason, they allowed the players to suit up for the Sugar Bowl. Why? Not for ethical reasons or due to strict interpretation of the rule, although they would claim otherwise. The Sugar Bowl officials and the networks wanted the players on the field. It was a money decision. Without those five players, the odds would have been heavily in Arkansas’ favor to win. So much so, fans probably wouldn’t have tuned into the game.
Jim Tressel denied his players the opportunity to deal with adversity and build character. The NCAA didn’t suspend his five players for the Sugar Bowl, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have. If he was a real leader, and he cared about his players, he would have banned the five who violated rules from stepping on the field in the Superdome. Instead, he demonstrated to his team that doing the right thing is fine as long as it doesn’t cost you too much and it’s not too hard.
Meanwhile, the NCAA was just as mesmerized by Cam Newton’s freakish abilities as the rest of the country. So much so that they invented a new interpretation of a very clear policy on pay-for-play violations. Newton’s father sought money for his son’s services. In every other similar case, that has resulted in the player being banned from playing. But somehow, the NCAA determined in its preliminary investigation that Cam Newton knew nothing about his father’s efforts to receive money for his son’s talents. They allowed him to continue playing. Auburn fans were ecstatic, while the rest of the country is wondering how the NCAA learned nothing from the Reggie Bush fiasco.
The University Tennessee is the master of winning and losing the same game. They stopped LSU on fourth and goal to win the game in Baton Rouge, only to have a booth review assess a penalty for too many men on the field and subsequently we all watched LSU score and win the game with no time left on the clock. Against North Carolina in the Music City Bowl, terrible clock management saw the Tarheels run out of time before spiking the ball to stop the clock. Volunteer fans everywhere started singing Rocky Top in victory. But, once again, a booth review revealed that the UNC quarterback did indeed spike the ball with one second left on the clock. The kick was made. Overtime followed. A loss for Tennessee was imminent.
Chris Petersen of Boise State is a class act. He once again guided his Broncos to at least 12 wins. Bigger schools came calling, but he said no (namely to Stanford). Loyalty is so hard to find these days. It’s nice to see that it’s not dead.
Mark Cuban is the man. He stepped up to the plate this year, and decided that if the NCAA wasn’t going to instate a playoff system, he would. That’s right, he has enough money and connections to create a separate governing body for college football and finally give college football fans the play-off system they want and deserve. I’m hoping he’ll keep applying the pressure to the point that the NCAA will finally cave and just do it themselves. Rock on, Mr. Cuban. I’m pulling for you.
You want proof that the BCS is total BS. One word, Connecticut.
There is so much more that I didn’t’ like about college football this year, but I have to admit. I was there every Saturday with my remote and my beverage watching as many snaps of the ball as I could. I’m not happy with the people in charge, but I do love the game. Go Vols!