December 04, 2021
The season began with high hopes for all 130 Football Bowl Series (FBS) teams when 0 Week opened on Saturday, August 28, 2021. The earliest confirmed game involving FBS teams was Nebraska-Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, with a 1 pm EST kick off (an Illinois upset). The usual questions are always the same. Who will win the conference championship? Who will make the College Football Playoff? Who will win the Heisman Trophy? Who will win the national championship? Now after 12 games per team over 13 weeks the Power Five and the other six FBS leagues are holding championship games this weekend. Sunday’s College Football Playoff Selection Show will determine the four teams vying for the national championship.
While the focus may be on the four teams vying for the national championship, there is plenty of hope for non-championship teams. There are a total of 35 Bowl games for 70 teams who are not in the championship series. To be eligible for a Bowl a team is required to win at least 6 games to become Bowl eligible, although during the shortened 2020 season Arkansas was invited to a bowl with a record of 3-7. That Bowl did not happen due to covid protocols. While expectations are high for the upper echelon teams, others set their hope at a lower bar. Arkansas went two years without winning a conference game (2018 and 2019) and was not hopeful for the “conference only” season during 2020, then went 8-4 during 2021. Hope springs eternal for programs with inconsistent records, but the firings by winning coaches this year indicate for some, good is not enough.
Prior to Sunday’s College Football Playoff Selection Show, the rankings show featured four straight Tuesday releases, all at 7 pm EST following the conference championship weekend games. This year the final rankings break from that schedule and air at noon EST the day after the conference championship games are played. The New Year’s Six games (December 30 through January 1) are chosen by the bowl selection committee. These are the Cotton Bowl Classic, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Peach Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. Every three years, two of these bowls serve as national semifinal games for the College Football Playoff. Three of these bowls also have Power Five conference tie-ins. Every year since 1998, a non-Power Five team is guaranteed one bid to the New Year’s Six bowls. So far, no additional bids beyond the one has been granted. We will see if that trend continues.
Thoughts: While some teams are jockeying for the College Football Playoff Championship, there are other teams at the opposite end of the spectrum. Every year there are teams trying to build a program who are starting at the bottom. The only thing America seems to love more than hating a continual winner, is making fun of a perennial loser. When I went online, I found predictions for the 15 worst teams in the FBS. While they were not ranked in order of malfunction, it did predict the worst Power Five team in the nation. These teams do not receive trophies or the accolades of fans, but loyalty goes beyond the won-loss record. We need to show the same loyalty to our group, humans. Despite our on-loss record we can work together to resolve the issues of climate, pollution, and racism. We are in it for the championship. Do the work. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.