The college football universe is centered around trying to figure out who the best team is. Comparing teams via schedules, records, “eye tests”, you name it. We all try to read the tea-leaves to figure out which teams are better than other teams. It’s the only competitive sport that takes the sport out of things and puts it in the hands of analysts.
But this year’s CFP proves that you can’t predict how these games will play out. We were told that ND and OU were the only teams who could compete with Bama/Clemson.
That was wrong.
We were told Bama and Clemson would be a neck and neck battle of the two best teams in the country.
That was wrong.
Sports are great because of one true inherent pillar of the spectacle: its unpredictability. The underdog victory. The come from behind wins. The “where did that guy come from” moments. But in CFB we marginalize those elements by analyzing it away. We pretend like we can “pick” the best teams instead of just letting them play it out. Instead of celebrating a possible Cinderella story, we cower from it and try to prevent it from happening.
This year’s CFP and all the blowouts doesn’t prove that ND/OU/Bama didn’t deserve to be there (they did). It doesn’t prove that tOSU was better than OU and ND (we have no idea). But it does prove that despite our efforts to take the unpredictable nature out of the sport, it still is unpredictable. And that is something that makes the spectacle great; not knowing how things are going to shake out and watching it happen live. Unedited.
Yet the CFB culture insists instead on trying to figure out the results without letting them unfold on the field. We would prefer to watch someone else draw a flower instead of watching one bloom with our own eyes.