I realize that some folks just have to know the future. They read tea leaves, go to psychics, dabble in astrology, and douse for nuggets of prognostication gold. The net effect is, I suppose, something to talk about and perhaps some odd bragging rights at the end of it all. The deep satisfaction of “see I told you so” perhaps mixed with a bit of cash on the predicted end point. I don’t know all about all of the motivations, but the constant bleat of the sports media looking for some sort of insight into who is going to win what, when becomes sort of a pathetic annual parade shambling down some small town Main Street, as the 1947 John Deere tractor pulls an old trailer draped in the colors of the current favorite.
Of course the playoff picture is changing. It will always change as actual contests resolve themselves to replace whatever fumes and ruminations preceded them. This past weekend, Clemson duked it out with Louisville on national television to the satisfaction of the crowd in “Death Valley” but not necessarily to the Heisman voters ready to crown Louisville’s quarterback “The Prince Regent of College Football”. Dabo’s dayglow orange legion managed to pull ahead, and then outlast Louisville’s Chrome and Crimson angry birds. Or was that Gold Lame and Crimson? I am not all that thrilled with these cheap metallic looks any more than I am with pointless 25% of the way prognostications. I’ll just save that rant another article. The “it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” impression of the defeat of Bobby Petrino’s birds is overshadowed by the reality the game. One quarter of the way into the 2016 season it was probably the ACC Atlantic Division championship contest. That reality shouldn’t be dismissed.
Alabama and OSU each body slammed another patsy but most of the undefeated teams were paired with peers in some unusual scheduling flummery (or brilliance depending on who lost or won). There was a churn in the middle, and that mid-tier boil resulted in a bigger sprinkling of votes for the idle Virginia Tech Hokies, who appeared in the AP top 25 for the first time since we blipped up there after the win at the Horseshoe in 2014. That’s really not a long time for most folks but for the incessant pollsters voting for their current “faves”; I guess it’s an eon or two.
The answer to this ever exhausting sports media who’s on top before the top before the first turn on the front straightaway sort of game would be a thing of the past if the FBS would just adopt an FCS style Conference and Playoff system. The leaders would be determined on the field. The winners would be determined there, too. That’s probably why there is so much anti playoff sentiment in FBS level college sports. If there is a real 32 team playoff (includes conference championships folks – only adds one extra game for 8 teams), the polls, sports media, and coaching PR guys don’t have a say in who faces off in January, or who is better than whom. It all gets determined on the field.
I wrote about this last year and it’s time to revisit the issue. The media that so supposedly guards its “objectivity”; would be forced to actually be objective. They’d report the winners, losers, and events of the season without more than the low level speculation that accompanies any race to the playoffs in any sport that has significant seasons followed by significantly meaningful playoffs. (Pro Hockey and Basketball your playoffs are just naked money making schemes… sorry… make your seasons meaningful by having real championship playoffs by actually eliminating teams in the regular season.)
The current FBS system is still biased. It’s still too connected to polls, feelings, and the irrational demand for perfection and the incongruity of national polling vs. conference results. Hey Sports Media types, it’s nice y’all have voted for the Hokies enough to get us above the pack; but let’s be real. It’s just some peoples’ opinions. There are some of us who actually look for results on the field. The Virginia Tech 2016 football season is 25% over, just like almost everyone elses’. It’s too early to be ranking anyone anywhere. Next weekend, the Hokies show up in Chapel Hill to try to return the favor to the Heels for taking an OT victory in our house. If Tech wins that’ll be a loud statement by Coach Fuente and the Team. And then it will be on to Pittsburgh and beating the curse of the Big Ketchup. No more, and no less. Let us not forget that the Hoos beat Duke this past weekend while putting up 34.
One game at a time! One victory at a time! No more, no less.