A Great Year for College Football – With apologies in advance to ‘Canes and Gator fans…

A Great Year for College Football – With apologies in advance to ‘Canes and Gator fans…

The 2013-14 College Football Season is officially over, and this year’s bowl action was the best in recent memory (unless you’re a sports book line maker in Las Vegas). There were the usual weekly surprises and upsets, some great play on the field, and an undisputed and undefeated National Champion: the Florida State Seminoles.

It’s also the end of the BS – I mean the BCS era. Thank God.

The BS – I mean the BCS Bowl bids are supposed to go to the elite college football teams. Unfortunately, because of conference assignments, that doesn’t always happen. The ACC Conference champion usually plays the Orange Bowl. This year, that was Florida State. FSU, however, was understandably playing in the BCS Championship Game in Pasadena. That left runner-up Clemson to get the BCS Orange Bowl bid.

My school, the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks, did not get a BCS Bowl bid, even though they had wiped the field with the Clemson Tigers a few weeks before. The Gamecocks got to play in the Capital One Bowl, where they defeated Wisconsin and ended their year ranked No. 4 in the nation. Go Cocks! Unlike the West Virginia blowout of the Tigers two years ago, Clemson actually acquitted itself well in this year’s contest, defeating the pre-game favorite Ohio State Buckeyes.

And upsets were the theme of this year’s bowl season. Baylor was a 17-point favorite against the University of Central Florida Knights. UCF put on a great show and beat Baylor by 10. (UCF’s only loss this season was to the South Carolina Gamecocks.) And Oklahoma came in 17-point underdogs to Alabama but rolled over the Tide by two touchdowns.

The Florida State / Auburn championship game was probably the best of the BCS era. Auburn came out and played an amazing first half of football that had many of us wondering if FSU was as good as they were supposed to be. The second half proved that they indeed were, and both teams gave us a finish that we’re not likely to see again for years to come in a championship game.

Next year, thankfully, we’ll have none of the BCS BS that college football fans have endured for years. The top four teams, selected by real people (and not computers), will actually participate in a playoff system. What could go wrong?

The main potential problem is that only four teams will be chosen. It would be far better if the top eight or sixteen teams faced off in a real playoff that could incorporate the existing bowl games. This could eliminate the potential problems that will result if there are more than four teams with identical end-of-season records but only four playoff berths. Still, a four-team playoff is better than the BCS BS.

In addition to the playoffs, we have a lot to look forward to next season. Both FSU and USC will have a lot of returning players on their teams. It will be interesting to see if UCF can repeat and build upon their success from this year. Will the SEC continue being the dominant conference in college football? And will UM and UF rise from the mediocrity of their seasons and find greatness in 2014?

Whatever is to be will be. Hats off to a great college football year that was. Go ‘Noles! Go Cocks! And good riddance BCS!

 

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