Every year, college basketball has a championship tournament. It's always awesome, and college football people react in one of four ways, as follows:
A. "College football should have something pretty much like this."
B. "College football should just stick to bowl games."
C. "College basketball should have bowl games instead."
D. "Let's not use this time to complain about college football. Let's instead just enjoy college basketball."
I'd imagine the majority of people under the age of 50 go for A, while our more seasoned veterans opt for B. There's got to be some bowl committee suit somewhere who says something like C, which is fine, as there are even people in this world who believe in chemtrails. This kind of person usually ends up getting punched by Buzz Aldrin, but Buzz Aldrin can't save college football.
People who prefer bowls to the impending football playoff don't bother me. They have their preferences, and that's neat. If told to talk for two hours about bowl games without supervision, I'd probably reach a point where I used the word "evil," but that doesn't mean I don't get why lots of people like bowls. I like bowls.
My sort of person talks about schools that lose money on bowl game trips as if it's the biggest injustice in the world, but justifies any other price a university must pay to keep a major college football program running. We also talk up all the money schools could make under a playoff system while shaking our heads at rivalries breaking up for even bigger piles of cash. The only kind of money it's virtuous to pursue is the kind that has something to do with this specific thing we think we'll like.
And since all that playoff money will just go to schools that won't pay players and will just keep raising tuition costs for everybody else, there's no benefit for anybody who could use a benefit beyond playoffs replacing bowls, but shut up! Bowls aren't as good as playoffs would be, and that's my complete thesis.
It's the comments to the effect of D that bother me, which is my fault, but still. The master of the sports calendar calls for a cease fire during March and watches as cooler heads retweet. It's okay to complain about college football's lack of a non-exhibition postseason at any other point, but not during the best case for why it should have one.
The playoff proponent does this kind of thing during the NFL playoffs, Olympics, WWE Survivor Series, most reality shows, and The Price is Right, but not the NBA playoffs, because nobody has time for that much college football. But it's during March that it's especially inappropriate.
It would be one thing if we were talking about casual sports fans asking you to kindly not bitch about the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl while they're filling out their brackets, but these are college football fans doing the shushing.
And it's not like #TeamPlayoff types will be handing out tracts at sports bars. All we're asking for is the right to joke about Mizzou angling for an undeserved rematch against Norfolk State and how Ohio's season should end right after their first win, with no further upset chances whatsoever. Nobody's making you sign a WhiteHouse.gov petition.
I'm jealous Mike Rutherford gets to write great stuff like this after every day of March Madness, while the college football side is stuck trying to squeeze an entire day's worth of commentary out of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which was a pretty good game and all, but still.
Saying we shouldn't use March Madness as occasion to complain about football's lack of a December Delirium leading into New Year's Day (and not a day beyond, thank you -- see, we're not so untraditional) is like saying music fans can't squawk about the Grammys every year. We know the show is coming, we know it'll be terrible, and we know just about all good music will be ignored. Except March Madness is awesome. It's a complicated metaphor, and I'm sure you can find your way out of it.
Our sport's postseason is unjust, wasteful, anachronistic and weird. It's a lot of fun and all, and even the worst bowls have charm to spare, and that's the thing. Persons such as myself aren't going to howl at the bowl system while bowls are actually happening. They're wonderful. Maybe once we realize we have an unsatisfactory championship game, sure, but as long as we get at least three or four MAC teams scattered throughout late December, with so little other football on the horizon for months, you won't hear a peep.
It's when there's something clearly better on display that it's easiest to find fault. It always happens this way, and it will all happen again next year.
The BCS will probably then be replaced by a two- or four-team playoff for the 2014 season, which means the third- or fifth-best team in the country will be the tournament lobby's instant martyr somehow. Which means you'll then get to listen to us borrowing basketball's spotlight to explain why a 32-team bracket would work even better. Aren't you already looking forward to March 2015?