Column: Playoffs, we’re talking about playoffs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which is a college town where the University of Northern Iowa has made a name for itself in Division I-AA football.

This weekend the Panthers staged a fourth quarter rally to down Eastern Washington and advance on in the playoffs.

Ah, playoffs.

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Whether or not the level of football is as high at this level compared to Division I doesn’t concern me.

All I know is that I love the idea that a true champion is being determined on the field not in a computer.

Bowls are exciting but it can’t compete with a playoff atmosphere.

It doesn’t make sense that Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State and the rest of the Big Ten concluded their regular season a week ago while other teams still had as many as two games left.

Instead of having to wait for a month or more for your team to get back on the field, wouldn’t it be great to have everyone finish on the same day and jump right into the postseason.

Nothing is worse than watching a favorite team put together a strong finish to the season only to have it come out flat in its bowl game and put forth a less than stellar effort in large part because of the long layoff.

I know that money drives the current system for Division I football teams, but the annual discussions about tweaking the BCS to make it work are laughable when other levels of football have little trouble determining a true champion.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see if Oregon really is as good as some people are saying if they had a chance to face a Texas or USC in the second round of a playoff?

Or don’t you think Joe Pa would like a chance to stick it to all the TV analysts

and reporters who said he should retire by tripping up the Trojans in a true championship game?

I have a selfish reason for wanting a playoff.

I would like the chance to watch Reggie Bush or Vince Young two, three or four more times before they head off to greener pastures in some NFL city.

The bowl games aren’t what they used to be with traditional conference matchups thrown out the window in the name of money so a playoff wouldn’t ruin that either.

If a team loses late in the current system they have no shot of winning a national title.

But if college basketball has taught us anything it is that sports fans love their Cinderellas.

How much of a shakeup would it cause to pick up a Sunday newspaper and read &8220;Ducks win national title.&8221;

I know that a playoff system is unlikely at best, but every year at this time I can watch my hometown Panthers and think of what could be.