With this weekend of epic college football excitement (sarcasm?) and championship week, it got me thinking about the eroding of tradition and quality matchups in college football. I will be the first to admit that I do not read the playoff scenarios top to bottom and multiply out who plays who each year in a 10 vs. 12 vs. 14 team conference, but I thought I would pose a question that I had not seen in my novice MGoBlog reading.
Currently the B1G sits as a 12 team conference but will soon be a 14 team conference. After watching a 6-6 Georgia Tech team play in their conference championship against FSU, a 7-5 Wisconsin team that backed their way in because of sanctions dimantle an ok Nebraska team, a decent Stanford team play a decent game against a decent UCLA team when we all know that Oregon was the best team, and finally an SEC championship game that was a great matchup, it made me wonder about the purpose of divisions. It makes sense in full leagues where there are 30 teams or so and in college football, conferences make up the "divisions" for college football. This move to super conferences, increases the need to break them up into divisions again which basically moves us back to our original conferences (20 team conferences breaks up into 2 ten team divisions or whatever).
Taking the existing system we have this year, if the conference championship games consisted of the two best teams from each conference facing off against eachother, I think the last games of the regular season would be much more meaningful and better matchups. The SEC got it right this year but they are a loaded football conference top to bottom. But we were forced to suffer through a Wisconsin Nebraska championship game where we are left feeling like Wisconsin is kind of the champion but not really. Why not take the best two teams and play a game?
This past weekend's lineup would have been FSU vs. Clemson, Nebraska vs. Michigan, Stanford vs. Oregon, Alabama vs. Georgia, and maybe we could see Kansas St. vs. Oklahoma. This lineup is not perfect but seems to be a bit more intriguing and would yield a more better games and more convincing league champions. With a 4 team playoff following this like we will have in a few years, it is like an 8 team playoff when you consider championship games.
No system is perfect and conference realighnment will detrmine how the future will look, but why do we have these divisions that are divided up based on location, quality of teams, and/or basically arbitrarily.