Sunday, May 25, 2008

Are football powers willing to trash their trophies?

If college football finally gets that long awaited playoff format and the opportunity to crown a champion on the field of play, the fans will finally be rewarded with what they’ve been requesting for many years. Well, at least some fans, and to some extent. While a playoff would bring mostly good to the college game, as far as solid season ending closure, for traditional powers, it may bring something they aren’t so willing to do.

When we finally see a team work its way through a playoff and finish as the last man standing, for the first time in history, the number “1” will be recorded in the NCAA college football books. That team would become the first recognized football champion by the NCAA. Currently, the association recognizes not a single champion in college football, for the lack of a true method of crowning one. Our football teams are crowned by media outlets and other organizations that select the champions of their choice.

Once the number “1” is registered in the books, the number “12”, for Notre Dame, becomes insignificant. The number “11” becomes meaningless to Southern California, and so on, and so forth. We would usher in a new era on the college gridiron by trashing those so called “championship” achievements of the past.

Tell me how much significance, in today’s game, does the national championship trophies of Yale and Princeton hold, since the sport was split into divisional levels? We’re already beginning to have a BCS trophy count, with LSU being the first two time winner. That alone is the beginning of phasing out championships of the past. Once there’s an actual playoff, and the NCAA begins to recognize a football champion, the deal is done.

Essentially, such a move would render the Alabama Crimson Tide as the NFL's Green Bay Packers. The Packers had a total of 9 championships by the 1965 season. And by the opening of the ’67 season, they suddenly had none. Is there any wonder to the NFL championship award being called the “Vince Lombardi Trophy”? The name is a lone remnant of the Packers early dominance and greatness. The new NCAA championship award can scribe itself as the “Paul Bear Bryant Trophy” (as the AP award does now), to carry a small bit of Bama's past history into the new era, as those achievements quickly become worthless tidbits.

Are all those programs that are calling for a playoff system also willing to make the sacrifice? If your program has zero titles, then hell, the answer is easy. But what about the traditional hardware collecting programs, and what they stand to lose? It’s not possible to have one without the other, because this, without a doubt, is a playoff package deal.

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