"Make sure you put me in the basketball pool this year," my colleague reminded me today.
But with talk about expanding the already bloated NCAA men's basketball tournament to 137 teams, I'm beginning to wonder how much longer I'll be able to manage our collective basketball jonesing.
Got me to thinking about the many publicly demanding a playoff in college football too.
No matter how much we want it, there is no objectivity to be found in subjective matters—and what's more subjective than trying to figure out what college football team in a given year is the best? Is there some sort of "missing" criteria that could be measured only by having a national playoff?
Those clamoring for a playoff system in college football seem to be convinced that a playoff would "assure" us of a "true national champion"—that a "best team in the country" could be identified if only we had a playoff.
In reality, a playoff only assures us of one thing: the winner of a playoff.
I like the bowl system (minus the BCS nonsense). It's gray.
I like gray.
Black and white is overrated, as far as I'm concerned.
What's wrong with voting at the end of the year via the current polling system? How many times have the "voters" been that far off in identifying who the best team was—the "national champions?"
Sure, there have been years where there's been controversy surrounding who the national champion was. So what? Do you remember those teams? Those years? Did your team (and you) suffer that much of an injustice?
I like the uncertainty of college football—that it's different than the NFL.
What would a playoff system give us that we don't already have? That fans of their respective teams could lay claim to some sort of bragging rights that last how long? A few weeks? A year? Don't we pretty much already have that? Do we really need another "Super Bowl"—a "Super Bowl" of college football?
As it is, the college football season has gradually gotten longer. What used to be a 10-game regular season has grown to 12. We need more games now? Why?
Playoff proponents often point to the successes at the lower divisions of NCAA college football (where there are playoffs) and the NCAA basketball tournaments (men's and women's) as examples of how playoff systems work. But what do those respective tournaments produce other than playoff winners? Have those tournaments ended the "who's the best team" arguments?
Playoffs in college sports only give us a tournament's champion.
National championships in what used to be "Division I" college football will forever be, in my mind, "mythical."
And as an English teacher, that's just fine with me.
What about you?