I wish the playoff system would disappear and that we could return to the sloppy days when bowl games were played for their own sake. Who cares if we don’t have a “real” national champion? Let the polls pick one — or two or three or even six, like in 1980 — and then spend years arguing about it with your buddy who may or may not have donated money to Tom Osborne’s campaign for governor of Nebraska. Being uncomfortable with the human messiness of polling and slavishly desiring to submit all questions about sports to the arbiter of some bloodless infallible authority is part of the same grinding, mechanical impulse behind the proliferation of fantasy football that is reducing sports to numbers.
College football has always been about narratives, not numbers. When there is a major upset on Saturday it is always a thrilling plot twist (imagine finding out that Darth Vader is actually Luke Skywalker’s father for the first time roughly every other weekend); because of the voluminous number of games played in other sports, when one of the worst teams in the country beats one of the best in basketball or baseball or hockey, it is a mere statistical inevitability.