Where's the best place to measure the human factor in any sport? On the field of play, damn it!
Let the press publish college football polls. But, why should its opinion determine who is the champion? This is the central issue behind the Mythical National Champion(ship). The fact that opinion has ANY official weight in this regard, is an affront to every college football player and defiles every single solitary son-of-a-bitchin' drop of sweat ever shed by every damn college football player who has EVER played! College football is played ON the field. That is where the champion must be crowned. It is NOT a matter of opinion. The official role of the polls in determining college football champions must come to an end, forthwith!
When the first AP poll was published, in 1936, it was easier for the deans of colleges and universities to loftily invoke the the sanctity of the scholar-athlete, as justification for leaving the crowning of champions to the press. Changes have come to college football - in the millions. This confederacy of institutional insincerity must give way. And as it does for basketball, the NCAA MUST sanction the championship of college football.
College football is about dates and times and places. It's also about oft-heard refrains like "showing up for work" and "taking care of business." So, why have the conference championships if - ultimately - someone's opinion counts more than the box score? The box score is the proof of work. Bama had its chance and didn't get it done. LSU - from the same division as Bama - did. Argue all day long about how good Bama is. Bama didn't get it done. Therefore, only a conference champ should face LSU - in the national championship game. I...will never recognize the winner of Monday night's game as...National Champion.
The road to the national championship must be a "Tournament of Champions." Further realignment will be necessary. ACC, B1G, PAC, SEC and four new conferences to be named later, can give us eight conference champions, annually. Don't believe it can't happen. Realignment has been a major subplot of the 2011 season. This realignment will refine what is now, two circuits of post-season play: the BCS and non-BCS bowls. The likes of the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Pinstripe, Rose and Sugar - rounds of 4 games, 2 games and 1 could be the venues wherein which, the national champion is crowned.
It's time for a cold weather bowl. It's monumentally unfair not to play, post-season college football games in cold weather. Warm weather teams have enjoyed this unfair advantage for far too long - arguably - rendering their national championships, more mythical than mythical. New York, Chicago, Denver, Seattle and Boston are prime venues for bowls. The pros play in snow. Crafty marketing can upend prevailing wisdom. All these sites are attractive to travelers. Vast sums await to be made.
As for academics, if we're past the point of rethinking the money issue, now's the time to rethink the academic issue, as well. Make playing football, a class or classes - like independent study - which can be credit earned, in lieu of electives. Virtually all the academic disciplines could be enlisted to consort with this realm of study. Players could write papers or produce multimedia presentations, in summation of their on-field efforts, at season's/term's end. Give them special flexibility to submit their work, given the amount of money they bring into, the school. This way, the rigors of athletics - a university endeavor - will not clash with the typical, academic schedule.