SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

College Football: It's Fun to See Different Teams Doing Well

Neighbors and friends went to Penn State, but a close friend grew up in Iowa City, so I witnessed the despair of the Penn State faithful and the joy of my friend at Iowa's last-minute upset of #3 Penn State. I'm also enjoying the run of Texas Tech, which is #2 in the country. After all, many years ago, when people talked of the stalwarts of the then-Southwest Conference, Texas Tech's name did not come up.

What do you attribute the newly found parity to? Is it that all schools are limited to 85 scholarships? Is it that some of the best players at the elite schools don't stay for the full four years (while they might at some of the schools that don't have the recruiting magic of the perenially elites)? I think it would be hard to say injuries and academic woes, because they happen to every school every year.

And then there's a school's commitment to its program. Sometimes schools that have been beaten down renew their commitments in terms of facilities and coaching staffs. There's also innovation. The Texas Tech offense is just hard to stop.

Take a look at these two lists:

Alabama
Texas Tech
Texas
Florida
Oklahoma
USC
Utah
Penn State
Boise State
Georgia

and then this one

Ohio State
Miami (FL)
Notre Dame
Michigan
Tennessee
Nebraska
Florida State
Virginia Tech
Arkansas
Auburn.

Suppose you hadn't watched college football for ten years. Which list would you believe represented the top 10 teams in the country?

Then again, all this raises the question that won't go away: should there be a playoff system?

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