Thursday, January 6, 2011

College football's long wait

By the time Auburn and Oregon take the field for college football's championship on Monday, they will have gone 36 days – more than five weeks – since they last played a game.  No other sport forces its teams (and fans) to wait that long.  This is not something college football should be proud of.

Some of us still remember when the final games of the year were on New Year's Day. But since the Bowl Championship Series began in 1999 the title game has slid further into January.

Dates of the BCS championship:
  • 1999: January 4
  • 2000: January 4
  • 2001: January 3
  • 2002: January 3
  • 2003: January 3
  • 2004: January 4
  • 2005: January 4
  • 2006: January 4
  • 2007: January 8
  • 2008: January 7
  • 2009: January 8
  • 2010: January 7
  • 2011: January 10
At this rate, we can someday look forward to the championship game from one season serving as the kickoff for the next. 

This is not just a matter of convenience or tradition – a later date can actually impact the game. Take this year's match-up, for example. Oregon has frustrated opponents throughout the season with its unusual no-huddle offense, in part because teams usually have just one week to prepare for it. But for the BCS championship, Auburn has had plenty of preparation time – perhaps negating one key reason Oregon has reached the title game in the first place.


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