'Tis the season
By: Les Barnhart 
Posted: 2004-12-10
Category: Washington Redskins News
'Tis the season for family and friends, Santa Claus and Christmas wishes. For many others, it is the time for running up credit card bills for presents that will occupy a landfill near you by springtime. It also means spending time with people that you don't see all year (by choice in many cases) and going to parties seemingly every night, all the while asking your wife who will be there in hopes that you will have someone there to talk sports or in the case of some parties, someone to do shots with. But for me, this is the best season of all and it starts December 14th and lasts 21 days. Of course, I am talking about the college football bowl season. A wonderful time of the year that doesn't carry the threat of lame ties or itchy sweaters but instead gives you the gift of 28 games in 21 days. Now, THAT is how you get through the holiday season (the beer helps too).

I have always loved the college football bowl season and despite the many outcries that the number of bowls (28) has reached the point of absurdity, I continue to look forward to the plethora of pigskin each year. I have to scratch my head in confusion when I hear the sports talking heads complain about the addition of new bowls or the bowl schedule in general. Sure, I admit that 28 game is a lot of bowls but why the need to complain? Is someone forcing you to watch the games? No. If you don't like the match-up, don't watch it. For some of us, we enjoy seeing teams that we wouldn't normally get to see facing teams that they normally wouldn't face. Are some of the games boring? Sure. But so are many of the regular season games that are played but I don't hear those same talking heads complaining about that. Listen, not every bowl can host the National Championship game but to those kids playing in their respective bowl, it is every bit as important and usually every bit entertaining, if not more.

What the NCAA needs to do to add legitimacy to their Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is to incorporate the playoff system they current use in all divisions other than Division I. Now, I ask you this, which is more of a problem; too many bowl games or the NCAA failing to use their same proven playoff system at the highest level? Not having a playoff system to determine the National Champion has long been debated and will continue to be debated until common sense finds its way to the NCAA. With Division I football being the only major sport without a playoff system makes the BCS more BS as it does little more than add confusion to an already frustratingly difficult matter. I would go so far as to say that until the NCAA brings the playoff system to their highest division, the legitimacy of the National Champion not only could be, but should be questioned.

There are currently 118 Division I college football teams in the nation. Of that number, 56 teams will play in a bowl game. Of the 118 teams, how many of those teams start the year with a legitimate shot at playing in the National title game? Of that handful of teams, their dream comes to an end when the drop their first game. That leaves the sprinkling of undefeated teams to jostle for the top spot only to have a computer and/or coaches (that don't watch many of the teams for which they are voting) determine what should be determined between the hash marks. I don't mean to devalue the meaning of an undefeated season but in an era in which a team can load up its schedule with inferior teams and then benefit from playing in a weak conference, going undefeated shouldn't be a prerequisite for the National title. It would, however, guarantee the team a high seeding in the National Championship tournament that would be played using the current bowl system. Hey, 'tis the season for Christmas wishes, right?

Those of you who share my love for the college bowl season, I will offer you my personal challenge that I set each season; that challenge is to watch at least 1 quarter of every bowl game. Last season, I missed five, but I have been training hard during the regular season and have not only mastered the picture in picture function of my television but also added an XM Radio to the arsenal. I feel very optimistic this season and am confident that I could go perfect for the season. It will be tough, this I know. But nothing worth having comes easy, right?

Stay tuned for my College Bowl Season preview package, which will provide insight to every game, the key players, my thoughts on the match up as well as television listings and all the information you will need to arm yourself for the greatest time of the year.

-Wingman
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