Cash for college football clunkers

(Zach Cavanagh)

Zach Cavanagh

On Saturday, the sports world collectively celebrated the first weekend of the college football season. An annual Labor Day tradition. Tailgating, lighting up the barbeque, singing your favorite college fight song, and watching top-ranked teams eat up their lowly mid-major opposition for a opening week snack.

With that last point, I am referring to the yearly blowouts. Top-ranked teams with national championship hopes going up against some hapless directional school to pad their schedule. 

While I understand the need for a run-through of your offense and defense against a live opponent, I’m not a fan of the execution of it. 

Instead of scheduling a real test of the team, the university will pay a large sum out of its own pocket to some north-south-valley-mountain-tech-poly-state university to be a crash test dummy.

These teams could take the cheaper way and schedule another high-ranked opponent to boost their reputation further, but no that’s too hard. Instead they schedule the patsy team to guarantee an easy win, an easy sell-out to make a stadium full of paying customers, and a walkthrough.

While I see the positives a team can gain out it, namely money, an automatic win, confidence, and overall timing, what do they gain from a competition standpoint? Not too much.

An example: the AP No. 1 Florida Gators paid Charleston Southern $450,000 to go down to “the Swamp” as 70-point underdogs. How is the Charleston coach expected to rally his troops against this firing squad? Try and get them to beat the point spread (which they did in a 62-3 flogging)? And even on the other side, how is Florida coach Urban Meyer supposed to rally his team or even get them to take Charleston seriously? Not all that much was really accomplished.

Nobody really wants to watch a 61-point blowout, do they?

Unless you just really love watching your team beat the living daylights out of another team, then no.

But then there are the real men of college football that put in a real test in the first few games. Games like No. 20 BYU bringing down No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 5 Alabama proving themselves as legitimate over No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 9 Oklahoma State beating No. 13 Georgia, and even No. 14 Boise State delivering a knockout blow to No. 16 Oregon (See what I did there? Clever, right?).

While some teams lost a national championship hope, the others vault to the top of the conversation. They gave us a reason to believe that maybe these teams are worth the time.

Even this week’s No. 3, USC, who is notorious for its early pushover schedule from year to year, is going out to No. 8 Ohio State this weekend. 

Now I could spend days explaining that this is the BCS’s fault, and it is, these schools could all get ahead of the game with a statement win over a good team rather than an automatic win over some eight-man football team.