as college football returns, evil exposes the lie that is the playoff


At long last, college football is once again upon us. The only thing darkening this otherwise perfect day is the shadow of what is to come . . . which is to say, incessant bemoaning of college ball’s lack of a playoff. The horror of the BCS. You’ve been there. Chances are, you’re one of the people bitching about this right now.

Enter the Evil, who is here today to take a stand against the abomination of playoffs.

As one who wallows in chaos, I liked college football just fine before the BCS. Who cares if the “top” two teams play each other at the end of the year? What’s wrong with a split championship? Michiganders and Nebraskaganders still argue to this day over who would’ve won had they played each other in ’97 rather than splitting the title. Same with Nebraskaganders and Penn Stateganders, 1994 editions. Split titles allow us to debate which group is comprised of the more ignorant and unworthy sons of bitches—the journalists who screw up the AP poll or the jocks who botch the coaches poll.

But more than that, what gets me is this notion that playoffs actually determine the best team out there. Do you honestly believe the Superbowl proved the 18-1 Patriots weren’t the best NFL team of 2007? I say this as someone who reveled in watching Tom Brady being crushed to the turf again and again by the Giants’ D-line. But if they’d played ten times, and Vegas set the over/under at 8 wins for the Pats, you’d’ve bet the over.

Playoffs simply reward teams that “get hot at the right time.” Or, in baseball’s case, two elite pitchers who are capable of carrying wild card teams that otherwise finished 10 games out in their own division. I say this as an embittered Braves fan who watched the most finely constructed regular season team of the 90’s lose four World—Serieses? Seri? Let’s go with Seri—World Seri.

How stupid is it that the distinction between “regular season” teams vs. “championship” teams exists at all? (Rhetorical, people. Rhetorical.) Really—are 162 games not enough to determine which is the best team? We need to have a few rounds of best of fives or sevens to make sure those six months of games really counted?

Baseball leads us back to the core truth of the playoffs: they were never designed to figure out the best team. The AL and NL owners didn’t stage the first World Series because they cared who was best—they did it to make money whilst twirling their Victorian mustaches or stroking their mutton chops. So too with every additional round of playoffs foisted on every sport forevermore.

If a playoff should ever come to college football, I won’t bitch and moan. But nor will I believe the team that wins a given year’s playoff will be more worthy of its championship than any team crowned during the BCS or pre-BCS era. And neither should you.

Let the Evil be your guide.


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