I'm afraid to look, but I think they've finally stopped playing college football.
That means it's Reform the BCS season, the annual exercise in trying to find a better way of crowning an NCAA football champion than the Bowl Championship Series. Actually, all you have to do to find a better way of crowning an NCAA football champion than the BCS is think of a way. It'll be better. That's why there are so many ideas floating around.
Michael Adams, the president of the University of Georgia, announced his on Tuesday, the day after LSU beat Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game, a game the Georgia Bulldogs believe they should have been invited to play in, though that couldn't have had anything to do with the timing of Adams' proposal, with the confetti still floating around and the beer puddles still standing, because university presidents are above that kind of athletic rivalry stuff, concerned as they are with the education thing.
Adams' idea is to have an eight-team playoff, with the four BCS bowls acting as quarterfinal games, followed by semifinals on the second Saturday in January and the Championship Game the Saturday after that.
This would have college football competing with the NFL playoffs, which usually have a double-header on the second and third Saturdays of January. As they say in l'académie: Duh.
This is why Michael Adams is relegated to being a university president rather than having an important job on campus, something to do with the football team.
But he's the highest-ranking committee member in the NCAA, so people have to listen to him. E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State, is the leader of the no-playoff faction. "They'll have to wrench a playoff system out of my cold, dead hand," he said last month. "It smacks too much of universities being too much of a farm system for the pros."
That quote about the cold dead hand rocks, but listening to college powers that be argue against a playoff system is a little like listening to people argue against smoking bans in restaurants. The argument's over. It's going to happen. It's just a matter of how long it's going to take for the losing side to accept defeat.
Gee likes to crow about how the SEC presidents voted 11-1 against a playoff system just last year. One of those 11 was Adams. But that was before his ox got gored.
They'll all come around eventually, if for no other reason than that they'll all get their oxes gored someday. But before that happens enough people with a say will see the money that can be made with the kind of tournament that the customers want and they'll stop pretending that college football is something other than a highly lucrative feeder league for the NFL.
Or what they'll really do is come up with a way to cash the checks while holding on to the fiction of big-time college football as an enrichment activity for strapping scholars.
They'll see that the traditional bowls aren't worth saving, or at least not as New Year's Day -- approximately -- events. NCAA football has ceded New Year's to the point where Jan. 1 bowl games can be overshadowed by a regular-season hockey game, which is a very far point.
Meanwhile, the fans are clamoring for a tournament and an end to the ridiculous seven-week gap between the end of the regular season and the Championship Game.
The solution is pretty obvious. Start the tournament in December, with the semifinals the Saturday before Christmas and the Championship Game, standing alone, on New Year's Day, which college football would once again own. Bowl games, major and minor, could fit themselves into and around -- but not after -- that schedule however they'd like. The big bowls would be smart to get on board as hosts of quarterfinal and semifinal games and maybe rotating the title game between them.
But if, say, the Rose Bowl insists on clinging to its no-longer-relevant Big Ten vs. Pac-10 tradition, well, knock yourself out, Rose Bowl. Enjoy your annual exhibition game.
Someday, you'll be outside a restaurant with someone you'll think doesn't look old enough to be out after dark. "Kid," you'll be able to say, "once upon a time, we used to smoke these things inside. And not only that, there wasn't a college football tournament."
The kid won't believe you.
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And now, the Falcons' latest bad idea [PERMALINK]
ESPN reports that the Atlanta Falcons are pursuing Pete Carroll and that the USC coach is interested.
The Falcons' last experience hiring a successful college coach evidently went so well they're ready to try again. Former hotshot Louisville coach Bobby Petrino resigned 13 games -- and 10 losses -- into his rookie season last month, scurrying back to the college ranks to become a hotshot again at Arkansas.
Carroll has more NFL experience than Petrino had. He was an assistant for the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings for a total of five years and the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers for a total of six. When he was head coach, his Jets team went 6-10 in 1994, and the New England Patriots went 10-6, 9-7 and 8-8 in his three years at the helm, starting in 1997. Detect a pattern there? Me neither.
Carroll has been approached by other NFL teams, but has stayed at USC, presumably because he would want control over the whole football operation if he were going to leave his plum of a college job. ESPN's sources say Falcons owner Arthur Blank is prepared to discuss that.
Nice. Carroll is a two-time failure as a pro coach, so why not hire him to be coach and general manager? At the same time! Why have him fail at one job when he can fail at two?
It's that kind of thinking that has made the Atlanta Falcons the team they are today.
Previous column: Gibbs retires, Gossage to Hall of Fame
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