For a moment, let's put aside the burning questions -- Will Nick Saban go to the NFL? Will the NFL come to Saban? Or will it simply change its name to "Nick's Football League?" -- while I share some of my observations on the college football season that just ended.
First, as a Southern football fan, I'd like to offer my sincere congratulations to the University of Notre Dame. With all the success the Irish enjoyed this season, I believe they should seriously consider fielding a varsity program next year.
I know. That was uncalled for. What can I say? I'm an SEC homer. When I posted on Facebook Tuesday that next year's SEC title game should be considered the national championship, a family member from Big ten country wrote to say, "OSU might have something to say about that."
To which I replied, "OSU? You mean Other Southern Universities?"
Even as an SEC fan, however, I must confess that I had trouble rooting for Florida in the Gators' bowl game. I kept reminding myself that I was supposed to be pro-SEC even as I was jumping up and down and hooting every time Louisville scored, which was often.
This conflicted behavior led me to ask myself, just whom would Florida have to play before I pulled for the Gators? It's a short list: al-Qaida. The Aryan Brotherhood. People Who Abuse Puppies. The U.S. Senate.
OK, I might actually pull for the U.S. Senate versus the Gators.
Another point driven home by recent events is how important a true playoff system is going to be -- and the more teams, the better. Four certainly will not be enough. I have advocated in the past for an eight-team field, but I now think 12 would be better: the six BCS conference "automatic qualifiers," plus the six top-ranked teams that didn't win their conferences.
The top four overall, as seeded by a committee based on the standings, would receive byes, and it would take exactly four weeks to play down to a champion. Most of those games could be played during December, when college kids are not in classes and there's nothing much to watch on TV other than the Lifetime Movie Channel.
This year, such a format would have produced the following field: Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Oregon (all with byes), Stanford, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida State, Louisville, Georgia, LSU, and Kansas State.
Sure, there would be some injustices there, just like in the NCAA basketball tournament. Clemson turned out to be better than LSU, and Texas A&M was almost certainly better than -- well, maybe everybody, by the end of the season.
But overall, it would have been an exciting tournament, with a legitimate national champion crowned at the end. And the best part is, Notre Dame would have been eliminated early, probably by Louisville, and we might have had a real game this past Monday night.
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of "Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility." Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter@rjenkinsgdp or visit www.familymanthebook.com.