So I'm sitting there watching the 1-AA playoffs, at the same time going over all these various (and ludicrously unrealistic) "But mine would work!" playoff plans being put out there, all while keeping an ominous eye on this "Plus-One" plan.
(You know the "Plus-One." Tagline: "The Solution That Wouldn't Solve Anything.")
Except every time you read about the "Plus-One" (or any other playoff idea), you read about some allergic, threatening reaction from the Rose Bowl or its bitch, the Pac-10, or the Pac-10's bottom, the Big Ten.
A playoff system — "Plus-One" or otherwise — will never happen with that tradition-stifled cabal holding it hostage. And so I was struck by the most realistic and effective solution to the playoff problem:
Let's create a playoff system WITHOUT the Rose Bowl, the Pac-10 and the Big Ten. Everyone else — enthusiastic and ready to create a playoff system — joins the "Coalition of the Winning."
Let the stodgy Pac-10 and Big Ten stick by the Rose Bowl (and maintain their arrogant and hypocritical rejection of a playoff) and exclude them from the new system; that's their choice.
But just let them try to claim a share of the national title without access to the 4-, 8- or even 16-team playoff that everyone else will be engaged in. Let a 12-0 USC or Ohio State watch helplessly as the rest of the country rallies around the playoff champion.
Let USC or Ohio State or Michigan try to recruit the best players in the country nationally while answering recruits' concerns about not getting to play for the national championship.
Let the other four power conferences (plus any non-BCS conference that wants in) share in the insane revenue created from the playoff system, generating more money for the non-BCS conferences, even more money for the power conferences — and further sending the Pac-10 and Big Ten into self-selected irrelevancy.
Let every participating conference be required to have a conference championship game, which both equalizes the competitive balance and generates even more revenue. If everyone is doing it, no one has an advantage.
Let a conference have as many teams play in the playoff system as they can qualify, and not artificially restrict them to two, as the current BCS system demands.
Let the conferences and university presidents and TV networks who all see the value in a playoff system win the day. (Don't wait for the Pac-10 and Big Ten to pout or threaten; simply create the new system, open to anyone who wants to join.)
Let the conferences and university presidents and everyone else who doesn't want to be included make the case to their fans that they are rejecting being part of college football's championship playoff.
Join me in saying...
"Fuck the Rose Bowl:" If they want to continue to isolate themselves from what fans and players and coaches and alumni really want, let 'em.
"Fuck the Pac-10 and Big Ten:" If they think they are so much more special than the rest of the country, call their bluff.
"Fuck 'tradition:'" It's why we're in this mess to begin with. Only a non-traditional (or tradition-rejecting) solution will work here.
If we want a playoff, let's just make one — with teams that actually want to be in one. If you don't want to be a part of it, don't be.
Just don't gripe when you realize what you missed out on.
Tim Tebow is
Heisman Winner: Remember the first edition of this guest-post, when I named it "Dan Shanoff Is the Tebow?" I felt self-conscious, so I changed "Tebow" to "Bandwagoneer," which was OK, right up until Saturday. I want my old name back, damn it.
Michael David Smith at CollegeFootballTalk posited on Saturday night that by the time Tebow is finished with college football, two years from now, he could very well be considered the best player of all time.
It's hard to argue: No sophomore — and few players ever, regardless of class — have ever put together the resume Tebow already has: Most Valuable Offensive Player on a national champ and a Heisman season defined by unprecedented numbers for a college football quarterback.
To really help his case that he is one of the greatest ever, Tebow will need to lead Florida to a national title, win another Heisman Trophy — or both. Possible, but improbable: Just ask Matt Leinart.
(Speaking of Heisman, when the quote-unquote "Heisman Trust" finally decides to strip Reggie Bush of his Heisman Trophy, I hope they will do the right thing and give the award to Vince Young, who was Bush's runner-up and who in hindsight was the best player that season.)
Handicapping the 2008 contenders, in this order: Tim Tebow; Pat White; Percy Harvin; Chase Daniel; Colt McCoy.
College Football's REAL Playoff System: It's called 1-AA. (Actually, it's called "Football Championship Subdivision" which wins the award for the worst branding re-launch in college sports history.)
What fascinates me about the 1-AA playoffs (aside from the fact that, mercifully, it IS a playoff) is that for all the griping by college football fans about wanting a playoff system in 1-A, no one outside of fans of 1-AA teams actually seems to give a shit about the 1-AA playoffs.
That's a shame: Appalachian State is on its way to an unprecedented third straight national title. (Remember App State? They only kicked off this craziest season ever by beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. In hindsight, we should have seen it as the foreshadowing of the insanity to come, rather than simply hyperbolizing it as the Upset of the Century.)
And, in their semifinal win over Richmond, App State QB Armanti Edwards put on what was arguably the finest individual performance in college football this season — at any level: a 1-AA record for rushing by a QB 313 yards (with 4 TDs), throwing for 182 yards and 3 TDs just to confirm what a badass he is. He's like the 1-AA Tim Tebow.
Anyway, App State plays Delaware for the title this Friday night in a must-see game for any real college football fan:
You can not care at all about 1-AA but still appreciate the culmination of the playoff system you wish you had, witness a college football three-peat, watch perhaps the most electrifying player in college football and pay tribute to the team that started this season's craziness.
Coming Next Monday: The Bandwagoneer Bowl Preview
As usual, send any questions or comments to danshanoff-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com.