No matter how unglamorous the trenches may be, football is won and lost up front. Strength on the offensive and defensive lines should be the foundation for analyzing any game or any team’s prospects heading into a season. Which set of big uglies can control the line of scrimmage almost always determines the outcome of a game on any level.
“Unproven,” not “inexperienced.”
Apparently your team’s capacity to improve is proportional to your number of returning starters. Likewise, a national championship is out of the question if you don’t return the same team as the prior season, just a year older and wiser.
At least, that’s what the pundits want us to believe. It makes for a nice theory, but it definitely ignores something that seems pretty important: What if the returning guys suck?
OK, so maybe “suck” is a little harsh, but you get the point. Roster churn isn’t always such a bad thing. It’s one of the reason why I think “inexperienced” is a deceptive misnomer when it comes to college football. Let’s stick with “unproven” instead.
College football uses the worst system to determine a champion. Except for all the others.
The cliché that “every week is a playoff” doesn’t quite capture what makes college football great, but it’s close. Think about it:
Want to win a national championship? Easy—don’t lose. You better prove yourself against some decent competition, too, if you want to be taken seriously.
If you do lose, don’t complain. You lost, so now you don’t have that right. You better stick with it, though, if you still want to have a chance. You should probably root like hell for every big game to bounce your way, too.
It’s why every play of every game matters. The NFL is fine, but why are we supposed to be more satisfied with the Giants as champs than LSU? If the Dodgers win the World Series this year, are we really supposed to believe they’re the best team I baseball?
No, college football might not do it like everyone else, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wait, maybe I would have it another way.
If I could change one thing, I’d create a selection committee to determine the BCS championship game participants. The process would be similar to that of the NCAA basketball tournament. In this case, the committee members could use the BCS rankings as a guide if they want, much like the RPI’s role in the basketball selection process.