The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Green: Improving college football’s rules (Sept. 2)

Mary Green | Sunday, September 1, 2013

What’s that, you say?

College football is back?

Wow, I never would have guessed, based off the thousands of tweets on my Twitter newsfeed counting down the hours until the kickoff of Thursday night’s games.

But now that America’s favorite Saturday obsession has returned, I’ve noticed some things that could use adjustment. Since the postseason system will (finally) undergo a little facelift next season, here are some more suggestions on how to make the sport even better this year and in years to follow.

Rule No. 1: BCS-eligible teams must play BCS-eligible teams

Obviously, the phrasing of this requirement will have to change next season after the BCS system gives way to a more logical playoff system, but the concept is simple-if you’re a major program, you must play other major programs.

Now, I understand that when smaller schools go to Gainesville, Tuscaloosa and Columbus and play perennial powerhouses, those smaller schools make more money than they would playing another small school. But it’s also a tad embarrassing if you’re Nicholls State (where in the world is Nicholls State?) and you roll into Eugene knowing you’ll be crushed by No. 3 Oregon before the game even kicks off.

So here’s the caveat: schools from major conferences, including the American Athletic Conference (even though some of us want to pretend they’re not a “real” conference) can play a mid-major or smaller team one game a year. I still want schools like Boise State to have the chance to win the Fiesta Bowl, but I’m tired of seeing scores, such as No. 15 Texas 56-New Mexico State 7, for the first month of the season.

Last year’s national champion, Alabama, played three mid-major or smaller programs in its four non-conference games, facing Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and Western Carolina. The Crimson Tide won by a combined 117 points in those three games. That’s ridiculous, especially considering every fan would rather see a matchup between two major programs from different conferences.

With this rule, Notre Dame can still honor tradition and play Navy, and schools in the SEC can still fulfill their charitable mission of “helping the poor” by beating up on Chattanooga, Kent State and Arkansas State.

Rule No. 2: Make Ohio State prove itself

Pollsters, analysts and anyone else with an opinion should not justify Ohio State’s (excuse me, The Ohio State University’s) No. 2 ranking by saying how the Buckeyes went 12-0 last season. Did everyone just forget the fact that the team was not eligible for postseason play because its players sold memorabilia for tattoos?

I probably wouldn’t be so annoyed with this ranking if wasn’t as inconsistent with other top 25-placements.

The Buckeyes were raised in this year’s rankings because they could not play in a bowl game, while other teams fell to the bottom half of the top-25 by finishing last season with a bowl game loss. Sure, sounds logical to me.

So, talking heads, give viewers another reason as to why Ohio State is worthy of its ranking, besides its “undefeated” season.

Rule No. 3: Enough with Johnny Football

Seriously, I’m sick of it.

While watching Friday night’s matchup between Texas Tech and SMU, it seemed that the announcers couldn’t go ten minutes without talking about the most polarizing figure in college football. If I heard the name “Johnny” one more time, I probably would have ripped my ears off.

Yes, his half-game punishment was laughable, and, yes, the NCAA is more than a little fickle in doling out penalties, but there’s no need for the media to debate a single player ad nauseum. Friday’s announcers discussed the Texas A&M quarterback, who, by the way, was not playing in their game, more than they did Texas Tech’s gunslinger, a true freshman by the name of Baker Mayfield who walked on to the team and came away with the game one-nod for a Big XII program in less than a month’s time.

Here’s the rule: limit any Johnny Manziel-related chatter to once a game, excluding halftime. And now please excuse me as I get sick after devoting 187 words to a guy who dressed up as Scooby Doo last Halloween.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu. The views expressed in this Sports Authority column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.