In defense of not knowing

Joe Posnanski on college football:

So, my thought, like many people, has always been that college football needs a playoff because that’s how we settle these things in all of our sports. We are a playoff nation, and even though we appreciate the flaws in the playoff system — even though certain 10-6 NFL teams make the playoffs and certain ones don’t for obscure tiebreaker reasons, even though certain divisions are easier to win than others, and so on — we accept these quirks because playoffs are who we are as Americans. We want a champion, and playoffs give us what we want. I must say I never had the slightest sympathy for the most common anti-playoff arguments — that playoffs would corrupt the regular season (please — how could the season be more corrupted?), or that it would put more pressure on the student-athletes (come on, since when do any of the schools making tens of millions at this game care about pressure on the student-athlete) or that a playoff is somehow unworkable (college football has survived its own bizarre system for decades — thrived even — and you’re telling me that a playoff is unworkable?).

But this year, for the first time, I find myself working away from a playoff, and here’s why: College football for about 100 years now has been about chaos. That’s why the BCS doesn’t work, will never work, can’t work. It doesn’t matter how many computers you use — you can’t fairly take more than 100 teams, have them play their own schedules in a short season and then choose two of them to play in a championship game. The math doesn’t play.

So, yes, you can try to bring a little more order to the chaos with an eight-team playoff, a 16-team playoff, whatever your particular system is … that might work. But the older I get the more I suspect that order isn’t really what college football is about. What’s wrong with a little chaos? College football is about wild emotions and rivalries and regional pride and arguments that go on forever and are never resolved.

Read the whole thing, he’s smart.


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