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Perfection is hardly perfect

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Got to thinking about the New England Patriots and their assault on perfection the other day.

Which, of course, got me thinking about college football.


Watch my latest video commentary or read here:

The New England Patriots are on the verge of something historic — an undefeated season.

Only the Dolphins and the Giants stand between them and perfection. The Patriots would join the ’72 Dolphins as the only other team to finish the regular season undefeated. New England, of course, would have to run the table in the playoffs to match those Dolphins’ undefeated Super Bowl title.

Even with games left to win, the Patriots have already been heaped with praise. Teams that make it this far into the NFL season without a loss are celebrated and cheered and even ballyhooed.

Which brings us to college football.

Isn’t it ironic that perfection in the NFL is a rarity while perfection in the college game is a necessity?

Oh, sure, a team doesn’t have to go undefeated in the regular season if it hopes to play for a title. Look at this year’s championship game match-up. Ohio State has one loss, and LSU has two.

With regards to non-BCS conference schools — this means you, Boise State and Hawaii — the fool-proof way to play for a title is to go undefeated.

Think about that. Perfection is the rule in college but the exception in the pros.

I know that the parity in the NFL is more extreme than anything college football will ever have. Even with the upsets we saw this season, college football still has its share of cupcakes. The NFL has no such sweet treats.

Just ask the Ravens about that. A couple weeks ago, they were on the verge of knocking off the undefeated Patriots. Fast forward to last Sunday when the Ravens lost to the winless Dolphins.

The margin for error is so slim in the NFL, and yet, all these guys do is play football. They eat it, drink it, sleep it, live it year round.

But it is the college players who are expected to produce undefeated seasons. These are college players who have to go to class and write papers and take tests in addition to playing football.

Is it any wonder so few college teams go undefeated?

And yet, that is the hope on which the BCS is built on — that there will be at least two undefeated teams to play for the title. The BCS hopes that will happen, hopes like crazy that it will. Otherwise, you see the madness of a season like this.

So, the next time you think about what’s wrong with the BCS, think about the New England Patriots. We celebrate perfection from them but expect it from a bunch of college guys.

That is a system that sounds anything but perfect.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›