Weekly Take

With the Big Ten Conference rapidly moving toward an October start for this year’s college football season, and the Pac-12 Conference sure to follow, normalcy is beginning to return to college football. 

What began as a scattered mess, some conferences opted to postpone the fall football season until spring due to COVID-19 concerns. While others opted for a much sooner return in the fall, no true champion could be crowned. Now, with the Power Five conferences all eyeing an end to their seasons in December, the chances of a College Football Playoff featuring each Power Five conference is greatly improving.

The legitimacy of a national champion in this year’s CFB Playoff was a question before because of the schedule split. Now that each major conference is getting ready to realign their schedules, the legitimacy question mark should be gone, right? Well, not entirely.

Due to the Big Ten and, most likely the Pac-12, starting their seasons between late October and early November, the teams in those respective conferences will have significantly shorter regular season schedules than the conferences who began their season in September. 

With only four teams chosen to compete in the playoff and nonconference play off the table in the regular season, there is no real way to tell which four teams deserve to be in the playoff. This is a problem in itself along with game cancellations due to COVID-19.

There have already been a number of games that have been canceled or postponed due to outbreaks on the teams and among the players. Last year’s national champion, Louisiana State University, had a number of cases as a team and although most of these cases did happen during the offseason, that still begs the question — what happens if a serious title contender misses a chunk of games because of COVID-19?

With all the unknowns still to come this season, crowning a national champion will be nearly impossible. 

In most situations, choosing a qualified team to compete in the playoff is a challenge, but now with all the added variables, including different schedule lengths, how can a legitimate top four be reasonably decided?

A word that I hate when it comes to sports needs to be discussed: “asterisk.”

Putting an asterisk on a sports championship erases the validity of the win, and is done so by fans or even the leagues when the playing fields are not equal for each and every team. 

With so many uncontrolled variables this college football season, there is no way every team can have the same playing field. 

For me, no matter who comes out on top, there is an asterisk on this season.