Not a whole lot has changed in the world of college football in at least 63 years and, despite how much you beg, it’s probably not going to change.
With Alabama now having won six national championships in the last 14 years there are some kicking and screaming SOMETHING has to be done to break ’em up.
That isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
The reason I used the number 63 above is that’s how many years I’ve been around. Since I had no idea how things finished in 1957, I looked up who would have been in a College Football Playoff that year.
Even though Auburn finished No. 1 in the Associated Press media poll, the Tigers were on NCAA probation for paying two high school players. The next three were Ohio State, Michigan State and Oklahoma.
See, you think anything has changed?
At that time, the Sooners were the team everybody was trying to figure out a way to break up. Bud Wilkinson was on a roll, losing just nine games in the 1950’s. That included two separate winning streaks over 40 games long.
The only schools that are not in a current Power 5 conference in the final Top 20 (the number was moved to 25 in 1989’s football season … in case you were wondering it was just 10 until the 1968 football season) were Navy, Rice, Army and Virginia Military.
Service academies were coming to their end of being big-time players in college athletics. Rice didn’t lose interest in athletics until the 1960’s.
Nothing has changed. The only time a team not a traditional power won a national football championship was 1984 when Brigham Young University somehow backed into a title. Don’t worry, I haven’t figured that one out, either.
Some folks hoop and holler that college football isn’t fair these days. Only a few teams have a chance to win the title and somehow they think expanding the playoff is going to help that happen.
No, it won’t and college football has never been about being fair to anybody.
It’s about giving some young adults an expensive free education in exchange for their physical abilities and then making money off that. Several years ago they started using the phrase “student-athlete,” which is laughable at best and probably closer to an outright lie.
Fair bailed out on college football over 100 years ago.
The College Football Playoff runs the sport these days. The NCAA lost control in 1984 when Oklahoma and Georgia won a court battle for their television rights.
Now it’s the CFP that runs the sport and they don’t really care about expanding the current four-team setup, but public-relations pressure will probably make them do it.
The main thing is people talking about college football out of season. That was the beauty of the polls-and-bowls system.
In those days you could have multiple arguments for months about who SHOULD have been No. 1. Amazingly, they got it right most of the time.
Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Notre Dame all won national championships under the polls-and-bowls system in the last 63 years.
When BYU won in 1984, they beat a 6-6 Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl and they sorta stumbled into the title because they didn’t play anybody with fewer than four losses.
Most years, everybody in the SEC is playing for second place. What Nick Saban has built usually beats teams even before the game starts.
Arkansas fans may remember Bobby Petrino saying the Hogs’ loss to the Tide in 2009 was partly his fault because he didn’t believe they had a chance to win (he did come close in 2010 but that was the only time).
Most years, Alabama has that effect on folks. It’s not really new.
Bear Bryant said in 1979 he was always shocked when the Crimson Tide weren’t playing for a national championship.
“We take the SEC for granted,” he said.
He won the league 13 times in 25 years in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has had several dynasties over the last 100-plus years.
It won’t be changing anytime soon.
And neither will the playoffs.