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College football is and always has been the Desperate Housewives of sports. Whereas most every other sport, professionally or not, is content to sit home in an apron, care for the house and kids, and get up and do it all over again without complaint, college football needs and thrives on drama.
This is probably due to two things:
A. The NCAA doesn’t officially recognize a football champion, so you can have 700 different opinions on the same topic and no ruling body for someone to look to for the answers. Over the years, the AP poll has meant as much as Jim’s Alabama Meat Shack college football poll.
B. Scheduling inequality will always exist and is impossible to stop. You can weather it a bit, but you can’t completely even out schedules because there just aren’t enough games to do so.
So if you sit down to watch this college football playoff thingy tonight, here are a few lessons to help get you through the inevitable wailing.
1. People are going to be mad, no matter what. The names of the groups of people who will be mad are basically what everyone is waiting on. Other than that, just know that people will complain. Much as with politics, if people aren’t complaining, they don’t have a pulse. Just expect it, be it two SEC teams in the top four; a Big Ten team up there; Florida State unbeaten and disrespected; whatever, it’s coming. Just ignore it.
2. Without conference champions, this is sort of pointless and only exists to get viewers/discussions/hot take reactions/social media worked up. Conference championships are supposed to be one of the bell-cow features a team’s resume can have, something that makes the difference on whether or not a team gets in the playoff. Without that massive bit of knowledge known, this is just an exercise in fake outrage. The product put out there tonight and the one that ends up being the case on Dec. 7 should be vastly different. The key is “should be.”
3. You’re going to get the SEC crap, so just go in understanding it. You, me, the guy next door, Bo Pelini, his cat – none of us are changing the ESPN-SEC bias thing. The CFB Playoff program is on ESPN, and surely the voters will be interviewed by ESPN employees. The line of questioning will be heavily slanted to the network’s best financial interest … the SEC. As with anything college football-related on ESPN, sometimes it’s just best to hit mute, get the hard news you want, and then go find something else to do. Or just wait 30 seconds before every website in America has it on there.
4. The small degree of usefulness lies in the process. This is the glimpse behind the curtain: you sort of get to see how the committee members go about their Saturdays, and if it’s like you … flipping among five games with a remote in one hand and a sandwich or cold one in the other. It also allows you to see how they view things as they are and how influenced they are by the outside world. Other than that, this is mostly a dog and pony show.
Just remember tonight, IF you choose to watch … what you see isn’t what you’re going to get in December. ESPN just wants you to argue as though it is. May your Tuesday be fun-filled and your takes be frigid.