The NCAA Division I national champion has already been decided! And I am not talking about it being staged in some secret hangar in the Nevada desert.
Last evening, the Richmond Spiders dominated the Montana Grizzlies 24-7 to claim the first NCAA football title. Josh Vaughn ran like a madman (23 carries for 167 yards) and the Spider defense forced two turnovers and seven sacks in the dominating performance. The victory by the Spiders, along with Minnesota-Duluth’s D-II win and Mount Union’s D-III title win today, wraps up the college football championships. Next in line in terms of the big sports of the NCAA is basketball and hockey.
Oh, certainly there is still plenty of exhibition football to be played, including Florida and Oklahoma battling for a corporate title. But the NCAA-recognized titles have been claimed. The NCAA has no real say over the “bowl” subdivision’s exhibition season and the BCS only serves as an artificial indicator of the best team to lose early in the season.
Let’s be real; Florida and Oklahoma will probably put forth one hell of a game and it should be entertaining to watch. Most people would be bored with a Mount Union versus UW-Whitewater title game. But the bowl match-ups are all subjectively assigned and money is the ultimate determinate for these exhibition games. If it was not about money, then Boise State would be in a BCS game rather than a two-loss Ohio State team. One could argue that BSU did not play a tough schedule, but they play in the WAC because of geography. You cannot simply place the Bronocos in the SEC (well…Louisiana Tech is inexplicably in the WAC) or Pac-10, although the latter could be possible. So if BSU could only play the hand they were dealt, then they should not be punished. Yet, the Buckeyes were rewarded simply based on being in the Big 10.
But back to the exhibition games…exhibition games are pretty meaningless. And because of the arbitrary nature of the BCS, the game in Miami is actually meaningless. Sure, it is for some invented title, but didn’t Auburn receive a “national champion” designation from some small town newspaper? Didn’t USC “win” the AP title in 2003; the year LSU defeated Oklahoma for the BCS title? It is like boxing — anyone can create a championship title. Hell, I say that the winner of the Poinsettia Bowl — TCU versus Boise State — should receive a title. Or if Utah beats Alabama, perhaps the Utes should have some golden football awarded to them. Why not? Makes just as much sense as having Florida play Oklahoma simply because their losses occurred earlier in the season. And really, there is no real difference between the Fresno State-Colorado State exhibition today and the Florida-Oklahoma exhibition in early January beyond money and fan bases. Both will receive some sort of trophy — CSU received a nice-looking cermaic pot as a trophy for being the New Mexico Bowl champions; UF or OU will get a crystal football for being the BCS champions. So really, both Colorado State and the BCS winner are “champions.” And then the disputing can begin, because there is no undisputed champion at the FBS tier. If it was undisputed, what’s all the fighting about? (to quote the late George Carlin).
So big ups to the Richmond Spiders for winning the Division I title! The rest of the football games are just for show; an exhibition. Similar to when BYU won the 1984 Holiday Bowl and subsequently the national title, the remaining games are fairly meaningless!