Between the Pipes

This site is about sports, life or whatever is on my mind at the time.

Playoffs vs. Bowls

There has been very little for me to talk about with regard to the realm of sports in my last few columns, but this week, I do have a sports-related topic I am very excited to talk about.
As most of you know, I graduated from NDSU just this last spring. Not only was my senior year one of my best years of school, but it was also the most exciting when it came to Bison sports.
The NDSU football team made it all the way to the Football Championship Subdivision National Championship game in Frisco, Texas, and being a member of the Gold Star Marching Band, I was able to follow the team down to Texas and join in the celebration after the Bison took down Sam Houston State to claim the title.
I believe I have talked before about how awesome an experience the trip to Frisco and the subsequent Bison win was for me and the rest of the marching band, but if it were not for the playoff system the FCS uses in place of the bowl system of FBS the best experience of my college career would not have been possible.
I bring this up because this weekend NDSU will once again do battle with the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, a team the Bison held off a few weeks back in a 20-17 win at the Fargodome. More than anything, I wish I could be there this weekend to watch the action between these two bitter rivals on the biggest stage.
This matchup most likely would never have come to be if both of these teams were in the FBS because the bowl system makes it very hard for two teams from the same division to meet in a bowl game unless they are both at the top of the polls and make it to the BCS championship game. That reason alone is enough for me to find the FBS wanting when it comes to postseason play.
The postseason is the best thing about every sport on the face of the earth. Not only do the games become more important, but they become faster, more heated and a ton more fun to watch for the fans.
From football to hockey, postseason tournaments are what sports teams and fans alike live for. Without those playoffs, there would be no real way to know who the best team in the country is. Because with a playoff system, anything can happen, and even the least likely and most lowly team can win it all when it comes to the postseason.
The way the FBS allows a computer system and the coaches to choose who should be playing for the top prize just doesn’t sit right with me. How can the best team be weeded out from the masses when just two teams are allowed to duke it out in the arena for the top spot? It isn’t possible.
This year’s BCS championship game looks like it will come down to undefeated Notre Dame and the winner of the SEC championship game this weekend. I was happy to see the Fighting Irish go undefeated this year, because then at least they deserve to be in the top spot in the BCS and have the chance to fight for the championship.
However, in other years, no one goes undefeated and a dozen or so teams are sitting at the top of the polls with one or two losses who have a right to fight for their lives to get to the top. And those are the times when the bowl system fails miserably. Those are the times when a playoff system shows its true colors because it allows the best teams to prove they are the best or fail trying.
Besides being good for the sport, playoffs are good for the fans because the games are more abundant, more intense and more exciting. Fans can’t wait for the playoffs because the atmosphere at a playoff game is like nothing else in the world.
Yes, a regular-season game against a hated rival can have a similar feeling to it, but there is nothing like seeing that same rival again in the playoffs when losing means going home dejected and empty-handed. And winning a game in the postseason against that team you hate is just that much sweeter than any regular-season win can ever be.
Those are just a few reasons for why I believe the bowl system is flawed and needs to be replaced. If I took the time to go over every little thing I find wrong with the BCS, I wouldn’t be done writing this column until the BCS championship game was long gone.
In closing, I am sad that I will be missing the NDSU vs. SDSU game this weekend, but my heart will be there with all my friends and fellow members of the Gold Star Marching Band as they cheer the Bison on to victory. *knock on wood*
GO BISON.

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