The NFL's minor league?

By Allen Barra

By Salon Staff
September 26, 2000 11:10PM (UTC)
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Congratulations to Allen Barra on his analysis of college football. College football doesn't need a playoff system. The true fans are most passionate when they beat their intraconference rivals. Sure it bothers me that East Coast reporters invariably choose East Coast teams at the top of their polls, but not nearly as much as the gratification I get from being able to talk to other Pac-10 fans about how Washington beat their team. College football is about emotion, about legacy, about wearing that piece of your alma mater on your shoulder. I graduated a Husky, and I'll be a Husky no matter what their record.


Is there harm in having differences of opinion about who's the best? I don't think so. Each conference can have their own champion, each region can revel in who's the best or the worst in their area. College football is the last chance for these players to be kids. To play for honor instead of dollars. To play for bragging rights instead of free-agency rights.

As a final thought for those who think college football needs to change, I'd like to point out that in Seattle, as in many other cites, the college team consistently outdraws its professional counterpart, year in and year out. What better argument against making big changes?

-- Rich Osborne


I have to disagree with some of the points Allen Barra makes. To begin with, there have been a number of coaches who have stated that they would like to have an NCAA playoff system, most notably Joe Paterno and Steve Spurrier.

Yes, the current system in college football is much better than anything we've had in the past, as we're almost guaranteed a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup at the end of the season, thanks to the Big Ten and Pac-10 jumping on the bandwagon.

But to me, it seems to illustrate the silliness of the polls and the "BCS Rankings." Last year's No. 2, Virginia Tech, was clearly not in the same league as No. 1 Florida State and, though they gave a heroic effort and even led in the third quarter, FSU's ascendance to the National Championship was inevitable. Even though they didn't deserve to be in the final due to their record, Nebraska vs. Florida State would have been much more compelling and, perhaps, a more exciting football game. What would it hurt to have given them the chance?


I would propose taking the top four teams and creating a two-round playoff. No more than that because it would, in the long run, hurt the bowls (the Poulan-Weedeater Independence Bowl would be safe), and no less than that, since it would give at least one deserving team with one loss a chance to stake its claim to the championship.

-- John Powers

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