(Editor's note: Style and Culture Writer MoMo approached BH management more than a year ago asking for a well-earned vacation. The recent news of the implementation of a playoff in college football stirred his creative juices, and he emerged this week from his villa on the Italian Riviera just long enough to offer his advice on the new postseason to the sport's big wigs – in between sips of cappucino at a local Internet cafe.)
Football has been an intercollegiate sport for more than 130 years, and since the modern era it has been ridiculed and mired in controversy for how it handles its postseason play.
For years, proponents of a playoff-style format have created scenarios for how this eventual tournament system should be formatted. You had your plus-one supporters, the 16-team bracket backers and those that have advocated to keep the system locked in with the BCS. We've even seen government intervention as members of congress from from states such as Utah and Idaho have pushed for the playoff to give their respective teams a chance to play for the title (and accrue some political capital in the process).
Starting in two years, though, the top four teams will meet in the postseason to crown a winner. But if college presidents and the NCAA had any sense, they would have seen that professional wrestling created the perfect blueprint for crowning a true champion in 1988: the Royal Rumble, whereby the top 30 wrestlers in the world were pitted together in a battle royale fight and the sole survivor was crowned world heavyweight champion.
Up until now, college football has been an annual contest of manipulation. Pre-season rankings and conference biases have paved an easier road for the media darlings. The deck has always been stacked in favor of the powerhouses. Even in years where little guys are undefeated or have one loss, they were never given a fair shot to face the titans in the title game. This new format will seemingly give everyone a chance. All they have to do is finish in the top four at the end of the regular season.
So, the new playoff system should undoubtedly reduce college coaches like Mack Brown crying to the media, right? I for one believe that this four-team playoff will still have controversy and many will be left out without a fair chance. Imagine if there are six teams with one loss. Bias and politicking will be just as rampant as it was within the BCS.
Champions should not be chosen by the biased voters, and there should not be any doubt concerning who is selected to have a chance to win it all. This is why I am advocating for a 30-team Royal Rumble format.
To even be selected into the Royal Rumble, wrestlers had to finish the year ranked in the top 30. This meant that each and every non-faked wrestling match mattered dearly. A single loss could result in termination from entry into the Rumble. On the other hand, think about the Cinderella potential. All you have to do is take a look back at 1992 to get an idea of just how magical the Rumble can be.
That year, The Nature Boy, Ric Flair, was the third man to enter the squared circle. The odds were stacked against him as 27 other competitors came into the ring after him. Imagine being the 28th ranked team in college football and starting the season with almost no shot at making the postseason.
Flair was the new kid on the block, having come from a lesser league (the WCW) that was on par with the likes of Conference USA in college football today. He knew that day that he would have to outlast the likes of media darlings such as Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Shawn Michaels.
Like a true champion, the high-flying Flair persevered, defeating the Hulkster to earn the title of Sole Survivor.
Flair would not have had his chance if only the top four teams wrestlers were selected to rumble. (You think Vince McMahon would have allowed a second-tier competitor to have a chance to win the top award in the un-faked professional wrestling world?)
Much like that Communist running the WWF, the comrades in the NCAA politburo have always been dead set on allowing only a select few to capture the crown jewel of their sport.
Now, college football has taken another step towards its own Glasnost with the introduction of a postseason format that will help propel the sport to new heights. But stealing a page from the WWF playbook with Royal Rumble? That would be a true revolution.