With apologies to the Rose Bowl, it's safe to say this ain’t your granddaddy’s brand of college football.
There are a number of statistics, figures and trends that could showcase the rising parity in college football today, but nothing better showcases the change than the national polls. BYU and Texas Tech have been ranked ahead of Southern Cal, Georgia and Florida and Ohio State in the past couple weeks. South Florida has been in the top ten for the second straight year. Utah is in the top 15. Vanderbilt, previously at 19th, splits Wisconsin and Virginia Tech in the polls. Connecticut was ranked and undefeated. All of these teams are quality, credible football teams who represent the change engulfing the game today.
This is not to say that traditional powers aren't dominating the game; Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU were ranked one-two-three in the AP poll before last weekend’s games, and unbeaten Penn State is off to an incredible start.
What it does show, however, is that the limited, exclusionary postseason format no longer fits the game in its current state. Four non-BCS teams were in the national top 25 before last weekend’s matchups; six were in the top 25 the week before, as losses by TCU and East Carolina knocked them from the polls.
We recently experienced a weekend where four teams in the top ten lost. Navy beat ACC favorite Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Vanderbilt sits atop the SEC East standings. Seemingly unbeatable Southern Cal, Georgia and Florida each fell two weeks ago. The Trojans and Bulldogs (prior to getting back on track with Saturday’s 26-14 win over Tennessee) were down a combined 52-0 at the half in their respective losses two weeks ago. Memo to the farmers in the area — look up in the sky, you just might see pigs.
Media members can't get a feel for what's going on. At five weeks in, the top ten teams in the AP pre-season top ten had combined for nine losses. Three top 15 teams are no longer ranked. Only four top ten teams from week-one remain ranked in the AP top ten today. With so many non-BCS schools having success, so much unpredictability in the BCS conferences and the days of undefeated seasons seemingly becoming a thing of the past (see last season's national champion having two losses), doesn't a playoff seem like the obvious answer?
Couple recent equality and parity with both past and modern BCS consternation and you have a wonderful mix of frustration, disagreement and debate. Enter logic, codeword for a playoff system.
As many can see, such a format would make great sense. Unfortunately, the BCS currently makes great dollars and cents, the latter carrying much more significance in the eyes of many.
Every other American team sport and all other forms of football have remarkably successful playoff systems that garner great attention and determine a true champion on the playing field.