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Splitting hairs (cont.)

Posted: Thursday October 27, 2005 9:07PM; Updated: Friday October 28, 2005 11:20AM
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So if the regular season IS the playoffs, and Auburn won every game (in '04) explain to me again why they weren't the national champions. Because the voters say so?
-- Greg, Houston

Ah, yes, the Auburn quandary. This is to college football conservatives such as myself what the Book of Job was to the Old Testament. You're going along, thinking Yahweh is a fair and loving God and then you're hit with the "Bad Things Happen to Good War Eagle!" dilemma.

OK, here goes. First, if I'm an Auburn player, coach or fan, no one -- especially not a dolt/retard/idiot/moron blogger -- will ever be able to tell me we weren't the best team in the nation last year. The Tigers were perfect in '04, and that's all anyone can ask. Congratulations.

For my rebuttal, I'm going to get a little Adam Smith (no, he wasn't the quarterback at Utah last season, he was an economist) on you. Basically, I believe in the Invisible Hand of College Football. In capitalism, what serves everyone's best individual interest also serves the greater good. For example, because I want the least expensive goods as a consumer, producers will battle one another to get me as a customer. That results in the lowest price for me and a huge profit for whoever can manufacture the best product at the lowest price.

Capitalism is social Darwinism, and when it comes to sports, I'm a social Darwinist. Actually, I'm terrible at parties so put me down as an anti-social Darwinist.

I digress. Now, what's best for college football, in my opinion, is to see the best possible games that we can. That's why I'm so fired up about the Alabama-Florida State announcement. That's why I love that Notre Dame will play USC, UCLA, Penn State and Michigan next season.

The question is: How do we make what's best for college football also what's best for the individual team? Well, if you're Auburn and you want to schedule Louisiana-Monroe, The Citadel and Louisiana Tech out of conference, then you have to be willing to accept that along with an undefeated season you may be on the outside looking in come January. (Auburn fans: I know about the mitigating circumstances with the schedule last year. But why should that have been USC's or Oklahoma's problem? That's a "The dog ate my homework" excuse.)

Now, if Auburn were to schedule, say, a USC or a Georgia Tech and go undefeated they might not have that problem. But here's the beauty of that. Auburn did schedule USC (in '03) and Georgia Tech (in '05) and lost both times. There's that Invisible Hand thing working for us. If enough solid programs agree to play one another, then the odds of there being greater than two (or even a maximum of two) unbeatens at season's end lessens considerably.

Also, we as fans win. If I write B.C.-Miami or Colorado-Michigan, you instantly know what I'm talking about, even though those games took place 21 and 11 years ago, respectively. Now what does Sam Houston State-Texas Tech do for you? Nothing, and that happened just last month.

Now, if you're an Auburn fan and you say, "The SEC is tough enough, it doesn't behoove us to schedule a tough out-of-conference team", here's what I say: We're talking about the national championship here, not the Pinewood Derby regionals. It should be difficult to win. If you don't think you can go undefeated against anyone, then why are you saying you deserve to be national champs?

Also, Auburn supporters also claim that the polls never game them a chance. No. If Auburn had played better non-conference competition, they'd have moved up in the polls (I don't vote and I don't put any stock in a ranking that comes out before Oct. 1st ... except Stewart Mandel's Power Rankings, of course). Auburn's athletic director never gave Auburn a chance.

Finally, if you only play schools in your neighborhood before your bowl game, then you only deserve to be champion of your neighborhood. Auburn administrators must learn that they can fly to non-SEC campuses for reasons other than to clandestinely court a school's head coach.

By the way, kudos to Tennessee for visiting South Bend and to Arkansas for visiting USC this season. That's the way it should be done.

You dolt, what does it matter what hair color Angelina Jolie has? She could have purple hair and she would still be just as sexy.
-- Jeff, State College, Pa.

Jeff also goes on to say that "you would blindly assume that the AP sports writers and coaches" will know who the two best teams are. I agree with Jeff, that's giving them too much credit. Again, I'll reiterate, the more often good programs schedule other good programs (as opposed to a I-AA opponent) out of conference, the less extrapolating that will go into the polls.

Oh, how unpopular I am among my friends for agreeing with everything you said about college football playoffs every time I get a soapbox. The fact that the whole season is the playoff is one of the things that makes it the greatest sport in the world.
-- Matt Malaise, Washington, D.C.

Normally we don't print a reader's full name, but how can you not love a guy named "Malaise" expressing anything but malaise?

All this voting crap is ... up! The BCS is GAY!!!
-- Bubba, Dallas

Seriously, his name is Bubba. And he's from Dallas.

I usually hate your writing. But you are RIGHT ON with college football [being] perfect as is.
-- Charles, Collinsville, Conn.

Dad, just pick up the phone.