Tuesday, January 09, 2007

College Football

That's it, I'm done with the whole thing.

First, hats off to Florida for showing us once again that the ranking system in college football is really just a popularity contest (beating the crap out of Ohio State is a plus too). OSU and Michigan should both be ashamed of their performance in their respective bowl games. Troy Smith should give back his Heisman after going 4 for 14 in the championship game. Florida was flat out the better team and proved it.

Then I read this. You'll need to read much of for the rest of what follows to make sense.

I'm done with NCAA Division I-A football. I've had it and I won't participate in it anymore. No more merchandising, no more Saturday afternoon games, no more Rose Bowl...nothing. This is nothing against the student athletes (though the term student in many cases is laughable). This has a little to do with the coaches and college presidents. But most of this is on the conference management and the TV networks.

If you SEC fans who claim to have the strongest conference in the nation take anything from the bowl games this year, take the record you have in your bowl games and throw it in the face of Big-10 Commissioner Jim Delany. The undefeated record in the bowl games for the Big East conference is likewise a testament to their skill and ability. How did the Big-10 do? 2-5 this year and 18-23 for the last five years? Kick the Big-10 and Pac-10 out of the running for the BCS. Forget about the Rose Bowl. Let those two conferences have that game and let them play for a meaningless title. Let them take their ball and go home. You don't need us and what appears to be our sub-standard performance. I know the press will miss having Michigan and Ohio State to talk about, but you guys really don't need us. I'd rather watch Florida get crowned national champion after a playoff than watch Michigan get crowned a meaningless title after winning the BCS championship game. As a Michigan fan, I'm glad they've never won it.

I don't care if I have to watch the all day anime marathon on cartoon network, I won't watch the Rose Bowl until a playoff is initiated in Division I-A football. I don't care if Michigan plays Ohio State for a national championship at the Rose Bowl and its all tied up with 30 seconds to play with Michigan on the 1 yard line. Jim Delany (Big-10 Commissioner) is more about protecting the money flowing into Big-10 football than he is about wins and losses. As a Michigan resident, I need look only as far as Detroit for what happens to a football organization that runs with that mindset.

Delaney even brokers the TV rights for the Rose Bowl (the most watched college football game). While all the other big games play on Fox, ABC has the rights to the Rose Bowl until 2014. So don't expect any changes to the BCS until at least 2015. College football fans will continue to have to put up with tainted champions and never ending controversy. All so Jim Delaney can continue to line the Big-10's pockets.

What I fear the real problem that plagues college football is the same one keeping the Detroit Lions from actually fielding a team worth watching. Football fans simply will not rise up against the football powers and demand change.

"If the public walks away from our games during the regular season and walks away from television during the regular season and walks away from the bowls, they're saying, We won't support this anymore. We want something else.' But I don't see them walking away from anything." - Jim Delaney. He understands the nature of football fans and sports fans in general and is using it against them.

Until you hurt people like Delaney where it hurts them the most, their pocketbook, they'll never change.

Oh, but what can the commissioner of the Big-10 conference actually do? Apparently he is the voice to which everyone in the college football world listens. He's the guy who got Penn State in the Big-10 and the other coaches and presidents didn't know a thing about it until they read it in the papers. He's the guy who brokered the $300 Million deal with ABC for the rights to the Rose Bowl until 2014. He's the guy who gave the Rose Bowl an automatic spot in the BCS rotation where the other bowl games have to pay to be in the rotation. He's the guy who protected the New Years day time slot for the Rose Bowl so it can continue to be a New Years day tradition. He's the guy who thought of the idea to give the six "BCS conferences" (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) automatic spots in the BCS bowl games while the other five conferences have to fight for whats left over. He's the guy who champions the BCS system and simply shrugs off the controversy.

The reality is that sports fans in general refuse to push back. They refuse to hold players accountable for their off court behavior. They refuse to hold owners and commissioners accountable for providing quality entertainment (William Ford, please call your office). They refuse to hold the athletic press accountable for not asking hard questions of players, coaches, owners, and commissioners and allow their personal biases (Brent Musburger please call your office) to be reflected in their color commentary and their Monday morning quarterbacking. They simply turn on their TV sets and buy the occasional t-shirt or sweatshirt. As long as the games come on when they're scheduled, they're happy.

And that's fine. If you like the way the current system works, by all means, continue to support it. If you're a Detroit fan, keep watching, buying merchandise, and buying tickets to games. If you're a college football fan, keep watching, keep supporting it with your viewership, and keep going to the games. Keep supporting a system that creates both the supply and the demand and views you as an irrelevant inconvenience.

I choose to no longer participate.


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