reader mail: college football playoff

Several folks have asked what I think about the new playoff system in college football.


Is a playoff the surest way to empirically determine the best team? Sure. I'll grant you that. Yay, empiricism! Rah, empiricism! Empiricism is so much more fun than actual fun!

Now here's the cost.

A few years ago, Ohio State and Texas played a home and home. One September, I flew to Columbus and watched Texas win. The next, I flew to Austin and watched Ohio State prevail. I was vibrating with excitement in the months before. This matchup and its stakes were enormous. Whoever lost would likely be out of the national championship picture—at the beginning of their season!—and whoever won was an immediate favorite. Indeed, both winners went on to play in the championship game. Just as important, there was an epic atmosphere in September in two great college towns, and I thoroughly soaked up the revelry and gravity. It was special. Those were some of the best trips of my life. I didn't mind spending thousands, taking time off work, kenneling the dog, getting on a plane, renting a car, gagging on perfumey motels. I was eager to.

Now? Meh. Screw it.

I wouldn't go if you paid my way. It wouldn't be worth the inconvenience. In a season that ends with playoffs, those September games are piffle. They're weightless exhibitions. They mean little more than regular season games do in college basketball. Why bother? Why care?

I don't.

So congratulations to the media for getting their way and transforming my once-favorite sport into a duplicate of the NFL. Only, you know, with lesser quality players. It's god's work they're doing. We badly needed a Lesser NFL where once fun happened.