College football is a sport with plenty of absurdity baked into it, and nothing better exemplifies this than its pursuit of trying to find the best way to determine a national champion.
As currently constructed, there are 133 teams on an uneven playing field asked to compete in 12 regular-season games every year. After playing those games and about a dozen more, a committee sits in a room and tries to determine which four of the 133 teams that played 133 different schedules in 133 different circumstances were the "best" or "most deserving" of opportunities to compete in a three-game tournament for a national championship.
It's an impossible exercise, one designed to create controversy and stoke division -- not because it "sells" but because it's far easier to produce.
So, allow me to make simple plea to you, fellow college football fan: Don't buy what they're selling.
Ever since the dawn of the BCS in 1998, we've been pushed down a path where we're being led to believe the only thing that matters in college football is winning a national championship. As we approach the era of the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, this will only become more prevalent.
Don't let them do it.
Don't let them devalue conference titles. Don't let them devalue rivalry games. Don't let them devalue the feeling that you get every Saturday during the fall watching your favorite team.
Don't let them devalue the joy, relief, pain and misery you feel as you watch your team succeed or fail on any given weekend.
Those running college football -- rooms full of empty suits holding Zoom meetings trying to determine the best way to increase profit margins -- see the sport as nothing more than a product.
It's so much more than that to us.
It's a part of our lives. For many, it's part of our coming of age. It's part of who we are.
It's relationships that have been developed, and sometimes tested, through a shared passion for a sport where every game matters to somebody, even if the results don't to those in charge.
It's celebrating the highs and languishing in the grief. It's tearing down the goal posts after pulling off a stunning upset. It's staring in disbelief, frozen in full Surrender Cobra mode, when you're on the other end.
It's Gatorade baths, odd trophies, live animals on the sidelines and headsets smashed on the ground in frustration.
So, don't let them do it.
Don't let them convince you the national championship is what's most important about college football.
It's not, and it never has been.