Jason Gay, like pretty much all sportswriters, is no expert on college football. Unlike most sportswriters, Jason Gay seems to understand his limitations in that regard.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Gay begins what starts out as the standard kissoff to years of what pretty much every other sportswriter has been whining about for as long as most young readers of MGoBlog have been alive; we have things called a "Beef O'Brady's Bowl," and we have a thing called the BCS.
Jason Gay is a pretty clever writer, so he makes that part at least funny, even if it is more of the same banal sportswriter-speak that has done so little to improve college football.
But then Gay gets to the end, and makes some really wonderful points at the about what is a terribly buried lead. He addresses concerns about what is now coming to replace the BCS; our new College Football Playoffs:
Are there worries? Sure. Will fans of a team trudge to a semifinal and then a championship game? (Pricey!) There are also concerns that a playoff format (and especially an expanded playoff format) could diminish the thing that makes college football college football: the weight of the regular season. This season a playoff would have impacted what was inarguably the best game of the year, when Auburn ran back that missed Alabama kick in an Iron Bowl that will never be forgotten. That game had such weight because of the stakes: Alabama was out, Auburn was in (I know Auburn still had to win the SEC title and hope that Ohio State lost, but work with me here, people). In a playoff environment, the Tigers and Crimson Tide probably both would have remained in the mix. The Game would have just been a game. (Endless comparisons are made to college basketball's March Madness, which truly is a delicious television feast, but its expansion has made a lot of regular-season college basketball as interesting as washing the dog.)
Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal, January 6,2014, Good Night to the Beleaguered BCS; the BCS was a reactive half-measure defined by Frustration.
So that's the link; read it and see what you think. (It's not a subscriber-link; at least I don't think so.
I want to go on the record now, and say that the "worries" Jason Gay expresses are real, and that they will be real problems. I guarantee, that the new College Football Playoff will bring unintended (bad) consequences. Some will be immediate, like the controversy which I now promise will occur, as The Committee tries to select a final four teams. I guarantee that college football will begin to feel different, more like the NFL, and that it will not be for the better. I guarantee that there will be writers (there's always writers) who will re-think the College Football Playoff device and tell us that there must be a better way to go about it. And I guarantee that the Big Ten title, the Rose Bowl, The Game, and a lot of what we have loved about college football will begin to feel less valued.