College football mailbag (cont.)
Stewart I read (and enjoyed) your book, and your column, but I have one question from all this reading I feel you have not dealt with. If the bowl season is "a whole new season, completely different and not indicative of the regular season," why on earth would we use it to determine our national champion?
We probably shouldn't. There's a reason the two major polls used to crown their No. 1 teams before the bowls. While I certainly wouldn't condone that -- the bowls are one of the only times we get to see the top teams play other top teams from around the country -- it speaks to the true root and intent of bowl games, which is as fun little postseason rewards, not championship contests.
But the BCS is essentially college football's often-futile attempt to tread both lines. It wants to appease the public's demand for a "true" national champion (remember, the sport is 140 years old but has only had an "official" championship game for the past decade) while still preserving the tradition of bowl games. Lately, it feels like they're accomplishing neither. It's becoming increasingly difficult to authoritatively identify two top teams at the end of the season, hence this year's feelings by many (myself included) of an ultimately unsatisfying ending, while meanwhile, the non-championship bowls become more marginalized with each passing year.
As a previously stated fan of the bowl-game experience, I suppose I'm among the minority that still clings to the hope we can achieve a more definitive national champion without destroying the bowls -- hence, my continued push for a plus-one. However, I think most people across the sport have resigned themselves to the unfortunate reality that sooner or later, it will have to be one or the other. BCS coordinator John Swofford said as much at his "State of the BCS" address the morning of the title game. "There's a longstanding tradition of bowls in college football that, to one degree or another, if not totally, you would have to eventually undo to start a playoff system," he said.
Speaking of which -- did you see the BCS reached its crowning achievement to date last weekend? College football's postseason has officially become worthy of Saturday Night Live parody material.
You are sick of explaining why a playoff won't happen. We get it. But tell us any simple steps we can take to help turn the wheels. Write our congressman? Contact Disney CEO Bob Iger? Lots of steam around the BCS system can be blown off if millions of fans can do something to help effect change.
There is in fact one very simple thing you can do to express your displeasure: Stop watching the games. Considering 26.8 million people watched the Florida-Oklahoma game -- up 16 percent from last year -- it doesn't seem like that's happening.
Personally, I've got bigger beefs right now than the BCS. For instance, how the heck did Kaitlin Olson not get a Golden Globe nomination?
Seriously -- what's up with that, Kaitlin?
Kaitlin: I don't even want a Golden Globe. Golden Globes are for jerks. That's not true -- I'm pissed. But not pissed enough to boycott them when somebody pulls their head out of their [butt] and I do get nominated. I'll never get nominated. I hate myself.
Stewart: While I have you here, Kaitlin, did you get to attend or watch the Holiday Bowl? Would you care to do any gloating about the Ducks?
Kaitlin: GO DUCKS! And go Pac-10!! I wasn't able to get down to San Diego to go to the game, but I watched with all my Oregon friends and was proud to be an American ... from the Pacific Northwest. Suck on it, Beavers.
Stewart: Finally, since this is the last Mailbag of the year, and since it's a long time until next season (of Always Sunny), where might your adoring fans find you in the coming months?
Kaitlin: I did an independent film with Mark Harmon called Weather Girl. Look for it. And I'm reading scripts right now, so we'll see if I get a movie in before we start shooting Season 5 in May.
We may disagree as to which was the best team in the country this season -- but I know I made at least one right choice this year.
You have Utah ranked at No. 8 in your early preseason top 10. Do you think the fact that Utah's offensive coordinator is going to K-State will have a major impact on the Utes, or will the coaching changes not be that much of a factor?
Utah is actually losing both coordinators. Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig is headed to K-State, while defensive coordinator Gary Andersen is taking over as the head coach at Utah State. Obviously, it's going to have an impact, but I don't think it has to be devastating. For one thing, Utah already went through this once before when it lost Urban Meyer and its entire offensive staff following the 2004 season. Yes, it took the Utes a few years to get back to that level, but Utah was also still something of an overnight sensation at that point. Four years later, Kyle Whittingham has built a far more stable program capable of sustaining itself over the long run.
I don't know whether the Utes will truly be a top 10 team next year. They lose QB Brian Johnson and a whole bunch of other key players from that offense. Next week, after the NFL underclass deadline has passed, I will put together a more thoroughly researched top 25 for 2009. But at this point, Utah has earned much the same "benefit of the doubt" that other top programs receive when it comes to doing these admittedly unscientific preseason polls. USC is losing both its coordinators next year as well, but most people realize at this point that Pete Carroll has built a program that can survive the loss of a particular assistant, or even star players. I'm not saying Utah is USC, but they're every bit as capable of "reloading" as any number of other programs.