College Football Returns on Thursday Night

The long offseason finally comes to an end

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Sep 3, 2009  |  Updated 3:00 PM EDT
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College Football Returns on Thursday Night

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College football starts off with a bang on Thursday night as Oregon visits Boise State for a battle on the blue turf. Sadly, rumor has it that the Ducks will be wearing their white uniforms, thus robbing viewers of the chance to watch a test pattern for three hours had they decided on one of their more, er, fashion-forward ensembles.

It's a great choice for the opening night, although it's hardly the only choice for football-starved eyes, because it matches two teams with designs on doing something in a game that will end with one team heartbroken. That's rough business after the first game, perhaps, but that's what makes college football, especially interconference matchups, so much fun to watch. There's something riding on the games each and every week, something that not even the NFL can say for itself.

In that spirit, here's a suggestion to the folks who vote in any of the polls that help shape the college football season: Don't vote Florida number one this week. They shouldn't get the vote even though they'll be 1-0, likely with a video game-esque score of 93-7 after they take on Charleston Southern on Saturday, and even though they're the best team on paper. The beautiful part of this weekend is that we don't have to give any weight to "on paper" anymore, we can actually reward teams based on the way they played. And no matter what the final score of the Gators game (or those involving Texas, USC or Ohio State for that matter), they won't have proven anything more than they did during a practice.

Reward the teams that go out and play this weekend. Reward Oklahoma for scheduling BYU, reward Alabama and/or Virginia Tech for throwing national title dreams to the wind or just reward someone willing to play another Division 1 team. In a perfect world, there wouldn't even be a poll until five or six games into the season so there was a body of work to judge when filling out a list of the best 25 teams. Actually, a perfect world wouldn't have a poll at all, but under the dictates of the current system that's as close as you could get.

The only argument for the current BCS system that makes any sort of sense is that the college football season acts as its own playoff, eliminating teams from contention when they lose once or twice and prove themselves unworthy of being crowned champions. If that's the case, doesn't it stand to reason that you should give more weight to the teams that actually put their necks on the line than the ones that will schedule any bunch of kids who show up with uniforms? 

It's a modest plea to recognize that if these votes carry the outsized weight that they do, wield them with the power to make college football as good as it can possibly be.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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