Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If there's somebody out there who despises
a preseason college football Top 25 poll more than I do, we need to talk.
I love college football, but that thing does no good and harms more teams than
it ever helps.
But come August, when the Associated Press (media poll) - and to a lesser
degree, USA Today (coaches poll) - puts out the poll that everybody looks at,
one team, Alabama, will surely be No. 1.
Heck, you could argue that the Crimson Tide should be No. 1, 2 and 3. And maybe
Last August, the folks who vote put Southern Cal on top in the preseason and
watched that prediction die a painful death.
There will be no such death the next time around.
Watching what Alabama did to Notre Dame on Monday night was inspiring. And this
from an admitted fan of the Irish.
(Before I go any further, let me apologize to Johnny Football for taking a shot
at him for being unworthy of the Heisman Trophy in this space a few weeks back.
I thought, then, that Manti Teo from Notre Dame should have gotten the big
award. Oops. Perhaps that's why I don't have a Heisman vote).
Alabama has become a dynasty that looks like it won't be stopped for a long
As good as this season's team was - and that offensive line was just incredible
- many believe next season's version of the Tide will be even better.
The stud recruiting classes keep coming and the NFL keeps plucking Alabama
players to join its ranks.
I heard an interesting stat the other day that could pertain to Alabama: There
are roughly 300,000 high school seniors who played football last fall. Of that
number, only 3,000 of them will receive a scholarship to play college football.
And of that 3,000, less than 3 percent of them will ever play professional
football. That's fewer than 100 players.
Now, after hearing that, the thought was: Why does it seem like Alabama has 50
of them? That's an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
"Come play football here, son, and you'll have a good chance of seeing the
NFL." That's a pretty darn good sales pitch and it keeps the pipeline open and
But this dominance begs the question, is what Alabama has done to the college
football world good for the college football world?
If you're a fan of the Tide, the answer is an obvious yes. If you're a fan of
just about everybody else, the answer is probably no.
For the best example, just look at college football's big brother, the NFL.
What makes the NFL so grand is that every season just about every team has a
shot of making the playoffs. And if you can get to the playoffs, you have a
shot at the brass ring.
It's called parity, and parity works.
The NFL's salary cap tries to keep things even and doesn't allow for dynasties
like the past. Case in point, the NFL's flag bearer, the New England Patriots,
haven't won a Super Bowl in eight years.
And (unless you're a Pats fan), that's not a bad thing.
Everybody wants to see their team have a shot to win, and in pro football we
get that. In college football, we don't.
Just take it back to Alabama. The Tide lost a regular-season game to Johnny
Football and Texas A&M - at home, no less - and still found their way back to
the national title game.
And when the NCAA finally goes to a playoff system in 2014, can you see Alabama
not being in the top four and having a shot at winning it all on a consistent
A playoff will be the best thing for the Tide. All they'll have to do then is
just get in. They won't have to No. 1 or No. 2, just No. 3 or No. 4.
If you think you're seeing a lot of Alabama now, just wait.
Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several Philadelphia-
area newspapers for over 25 years.
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