One of my favorite things about college football is the availability of offseason debate. I have always maintained that, no matter how exciting the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament may be while it's going on, March madness invariably gives way to April apathy.
I believe the tournament is an illegitimate mechanism for determining a champion because it can (and often does) produce aberrational results which negate the effect of the regular season. I find it similarly absurd that a five-game divisional series in early October can erase the outcome of 162 major league baseball games played between April and September (and I'm not just saying that because I was raised a Braves fan).
On the other hand, one of my favorite writers in the intercollegiate athletics weblogging community (which I would abbreviate "I.A.W.C." if that didn't make us sound like a labor union) is L.D., who disagrees with me vehemently, articulately, and reasonably.
I favor college football's system of bowls and polls, in part, because I share the fundamental American faith in free speech and republican government, in which we all have the opportunity to express our views and persuade others of the correctness of our way of thinking before matters are decided by being put to a vote. It seems to me that it is only a mild exaggeration to say that college football's method of choosing its champion is part and parcel of the selfsame spirit that moved our Founding Fathers to declare their independence from England.
L.D. takes a different approach, with which I disagree but which I nevertheless respect for its consistency and integrity. L.D. correctly identifies my point of contention with the N.C.A.A. tournament---namely, that I do not believe it is reasonable to set aside six games as the ones that "count," to the exclusion of all others, particularly when regions, seeds, and automatic and at large bids appear to be determined so haphazardly---but he is right to note that every basketball team, unlike every football team, knows going into the season that, if it wins the requisite contests, it will be declared the national champion.