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Post Column: Extra Point: NCAA bowl system has problems playoffs won't solve

In recent years, the absence of a playoff system in college football has generated controversy from analysts and sports fans throughout the country. People felt that smaller programs such as Boise State or Northern Illinois were not being given the recognition that their almost blemish-free records had indicated. To put it simply, schools like those have no chance in a national championship because they do not fall under the category of a “big-name program.”

Starting in 2014, the NCAA will be doing its best to eliminate this injustice — and dramatically changing college football as we know it — by instilling a four-team playoff system in which a selection committee will choose four teams to compete in semifinal games that will take place at the current bowl sites, and the national championship game will be awarded to the highest bidder.

Installing a four-team playoff system will certainly enhance the quality of college football, and ultimately create a more exciting end to the college football season. It will even give the smaller programs the opportunity to compete for the national championship, a feat that is not possible under the current system.

Whether or not college football has a system for a postseason is definitely a problem, but it is by no means the only problem in college football. One such problem is the gap between the end of the regular season and the 35 bowls that follow, some of which come more than 40 days later.

The time span between a team’s last game of the season and its bowl game has quite a wide range. For instance, the first and arguably most exciting of this season’s bowl games was the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, N.M., on Dec. 15, which pitted the University of Arizona against the University of Nevada. Nevada had a 14-day gap and Arizona was off for 21 days between its last game of the season and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. A much more extreme gap existed for Alabama and Notre Dame, both of which recently competed in the BCS National Championship. For Alabama it was a gap of 37 days, and for Notre Dame, it was an even larger gap of 42 days between its last game of the season against USC and the BCS National Championship game against Alabama.

There are both positive and negative consequences associated with such large gaps between games. On the positive side, injuries can heal and players can have extra time to study for finals and just let their bodies relax after working tirelessly during the past four months. On the other hand, the long time between games can lead to players losing focus, having more time to get in trouble off the field, missing holidays with families, and teams becoming rusty after taking weeks off and then jumping back into a game.

The list can go on and on. A case can be made that a large gap is good, and a case can be made that a large gap is bad for college football. I believe that, in this case, the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Although the NCAA is improving the game by instituting a playoff system, it is hurting and changing the game by allowing breaks that can last as long as six weeks between the last game of a team’s season and its bowl game. The solution is as simple and easy as scheduling bowl games earlier.

Christopher Miller is a freshman studying journalism and sport

management and a columnist for The Post. Does the NCAA need to fix the postseason? Email Christopher at

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