College football is stupid for letting a poll decide which four teams will get a chance to be crowned champion. College football is brilliant for letting a poll decide which four teams will get a chance to be crowned champion. It is a juicy contradiction. Like starburst.
Long before American Idol was conceived in Fox’s cocaine-swept fuck dungeons/boardrooms, college football figured out you could attract a hell of a lot of viewers if you convinced them that their opinions, no matter how stupid or objectively wrong, matter. If you convince enough people that being undefeated in a certain conference means something, even if a team’s best win was over the eventual Alamo Bowl runner-up, then you get #2 Kansas playing #4 Missouri in the last game of their 2007 regular seasons. Yay! That happened! Let’s all take a moment to reflect on how we got just a little too excited there and then put the memory of this game away next to that unnecessarily expensive Texas Hold ‘Em set you bought right around the same time. Don’t feel bad, we all did stupid things in 2007.
The current system is excellent at generating “what if?” scenarios. What if Boise State goes undefeated this year? What if Mississippi State could have afforded to match Auburn’s payment to Cam Newton? What if Oklahoma State and Oregon got to play in a 4-team semi-final with Alabama and LSU? The problem is the “what if?” scenarios currently being generated tend to be stupid. Boise State gets nothing until they stop playing on blue turf, one hundred eighty thousand dollars is more than double Mississippi’s yearly GDP, and Alabama would crush everyone with all the intrigue of flicking on a household trash compactor. These alternate realities don’t dare to think big enough. Lucky for you, I dare to dream of a few truly bold college football universes:
The Pro-Combatverse. The trend of Nike’s Mountain Dew-addled uniform design continues unabated. Football teams no longer have uniforms, rather they adopt a different team design each game. Gunmetal gray and matte helmets become a part of every team’s uniform. They spread until the only color that anyone is allowed to wear on the field is gunmetal matte. All players are legally required to change their names to “Matt Gunmetal.” The only way to differentiate between teams is to read the differing sets of inspirational DJ Khaled lyrics printed on their gloves. Games are decided by which team jumps around and yells the most enthusiastically. Prepare for combat.
The Paternoverse. A statue of Joe Paterno is placed in the center of each field. At first players try to simply ignore the statue and play around it. Somebody questions whether the statue should be put away. Some agree, noting it serves no point and is just in the way. Others disagree, saying the statue is an important part of history and reminds us of a lesson we cannot afford to forget. The game devolves into a simple shouting match. Occasionally a good point is made, but no one ever hears it through all the screaming idiocy. Pissy and drained, everyone retires home to hear the nightly address from this universe’s overlord: Skip Bayless.
The Bizarroverse. In the Bizarroverse, Duke, Kentucky, and Indiana are perennial title favorites. The champion is crowned through an extensive postseason tournament. Points are not awarded by advancing an oblong ball to a designated area, but by putting a round ball through a metal hoop placed ten feet high. One could describe this process as similar to field goals, but using your hands. Not all things are different, though. Ole Miss still sucks and USC is still usually on some kind of probation.
The Slightly Betterverse- Same as our regular reality, only Craig James has been fired out of a cannon into the sun. The man who never killed 5 hookers while at SMU is perhaps gone from my television, but he is not forgotten.