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Football: Time for a Change This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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For years, NCAA football has followed a ranking system that determines the seedings of the teams in the bowl games. It’s time for a change in this system, because college football follows a poll system, which, in my opinion, should be subject to more than just statistics.

The poll is based on a combination of stats, including coaches’ polls and the weight of certain victories and losses. Although this appears to factor in most aspects of the college game, recent years have shown that not all seeds are a sure thing. In the past two years, there have been more upsets of top-ranked seeds than ever before. And if we have, say, seven or eight “number one” teams over the course of a season, can we really be sure who is the real number one? The number one and two seeds at the end of the college season automatically go to the championship game, but even every statistic in the world cannot make it certain that those teams are the best in the nation.

In addition to the big-name teams being knocked off the top of the rankings, we have also seen smaller teams like Boise State, Hawaii, and Utah having undefeated seasons. However, none of these teams got a chance to play in the championship game, because the polls select bigger name teams that had one or two losses. This is where I believe college football must draw the line. If a team has an undefeated season in any sport, no matter where they come from, they should at least have a chance to play in a championship game.

Every year in March, sports fans around the country pretend to be college basketball fanatics so they can enjoy the March Madness tournament. My proposal is, why not have the same thing for college football?

March Madness features over 60 of the best college basketball teams divided into different divisions, or brackets. The winner of each bracket qualifies for what is called the Final Four.

This is a great system because it allows any small name team to compete in the Final Four, and the championship. An example of this happened a few years ago to a college by the name of George Mason. The George Mason Patriots were a little-known, small-town team that pushed their way into the national spotlight by winning their respective division bracket and qualifying for the Final Four. Could a team like George Mason have had a chance to challenge the three other top teams in the nation if college basketball followed the same playoff format as college football?

In addition, this playoff system causes a huge increase in the fan base of NCAA basketball. Many fans do not even think of watching college ­basketball until March – I’ll admit I’m guilty of this too. But the bracket really gets you involved in the games, even the ones that appear meaningless. And games are on TV everywhere you look.

College football already has many loyal fans, and adding a playoff or tournament would do nothing but increase the number of fans. College football’s bowl game system is very successful, but the system of determining which teams play is ineffective. I’m not saying college football should completely abolish the bowl games. I say, simply add them to the bracket. Let the system play out and have names for different games and stages in the tournament. That way we can be sure that the teams in these games have earned their spots.

Overall, college football is a great sport, and deserves more fan interest than it has now. Adding a tournament-style playoff system would raise the number of fans watching the rising stars of America’s sport: football.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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devinthomas216 said...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 8:16 am:
I support both the Playoff idea and just stayin the same with the bowl games. Having Playoffs we could see a "under dog" team upset the #1 team for the National Championship...Or a blowout and power house teams win it all with no effort. Now we have a chance to watch evenly matched teams go head-to-head in numerous bowl games. These Bowl games are exciting and filled with teams coming from no where to shock the world, not The Ohio State Buckeyes destroying some... (more »)
 
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gallagher This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 2, 2010 at 8:12 pm:
I'm really torn on this subject. I think not having a playoff system in any sport is just ludacris, but in college football it may be the only way. Like this past year my friend (a casual fan of Cincinnati) was just appalled that the team went undefeated and didn't get a shot at the championship. but on the other hand if you give UC the same schedule as Florida they go 10-3 or 9-4. I think the whole college football system needs to be scrapped and reconfigured. But most sports are like that.
 
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