College football purists argue all the time that the Bowl Champion Series is a bunch of crock. Computers should not decide where teams are ranked. Players and coaches should. The SEC has too much pull with voters and computers. Why aren't there playoffs?
Then last June, a four team playoff system was formally approved by the NCAA presidents. It would begin in 2014, and run through at least 2025. The four teams would be chosen by a selection committee, not a computer. Then those four teams would battle it out to determine a national champion. The semi-finals would be at current bowl sites on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, and the championship game would be played at a site awarded to the highest bidder on "Championship Monday", the first Monday in January at least six days after the semi-final.
But what about until 2014? College fans must suffer the punishment of all of the mediocre bowls with teams like Georgia Tech, Iowa State, and Rice until the big boys play "meaningful" games, right? Wrong. I want a playoff as well, but that does not mean I boycott the bowl games. To me, part of the fun of bowl season is turning on your television on any given day and getting to watch college football, and seeing which games turn out to be truly fun and memorable. They might not have all the glitz and glamor of games such as Notre Dame versus Alabama, or Oregon versus Kansas State, but they are still athletes playing for pride and love of the game.
This brings me to today. I did my usual perusing of the internet, and saw a site that had a GIF ( a short clip on a loop) of two Arizona players on the sidelines getting into it, even trading blows. My first thought was, how bad could things be? Either they are getting their butts kicked by Nevada, or that guy said something about the other's sister. I switched over to ESPN.com, and saw the Wildcats were down 48-35 with a little over a minute and a half left in the fourth. Well, ok. Frustrations must have boiled over on the way to a sure loss and that's that. Or so I thought.
I figured I'd check out this bowl game on the outside chance of a miracle happening. I turned it on, and Arizona was on their side of the field driving towards the end zone. Two pass interference calls later, they were at the two yard line. Then senior quarterback Matt Scott connected with sophomore wideout Austin Hill to get the Cats within six points with over a minute left.They still needed an onside kick to stay alive, or else Nevada would kneel it and that's the game.
Enter senior John Bonano. He kicked the ball perfectly to allow for plenty of bounces, ricocheting off a Nevada player, and eventually recovered by Arizona. At this point I believe Nevada gave up, playing loose defense. They had a look of "yeah, we are definitely going to lose. The football gods are against us."
Scott hit two passes in a row that totaled for 49 yards, and the eventual go ahead touchdown pass to senior receiver Terrence Miller with 19 seconds left in the game. They converted the extra point, and took the lead, 49-48.
Nevada got the ball back, but all hopes were dashed when sophomore quarterback Cody Fajardo through an interception to Marquis Flowers.
The playoff system will be here in 2014, but we still have games to be played until then. These games may not matter to every college football fan, but they matter to the players, coaches, friends and family members of the teams.
If this is how bowl season is going to start, then I say let the games begin.