I’m just going to cut straight to the point here: College football is ridiculous.
Like, REALLY ridiculous.
I don’t mean it in the “it’s a terrible sport and you should all feel ashamed of yourselves for participating and/or watching it” kind of way. What I mean is that Bowl Subdivision college football is ridiculous because it’s not an officially recognized NCAA sport.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the trophy that the winner of the College Football Playoff gets:
And here’s the trophy that every other champion in every other NCAA sport gets, regardless of the division in which they compete:
Shoutout to Ryan Arcidiacono.
See how they’re not the same trophy? If you’re not getting that trophy that Arch is holding, then you’re not an officially recognized NCAA sport, and thus, your sport is ridiculous.
There’s also the issue of how I blame the silly sport of college football for tearing apart Big East 2.0, aka The Greatest College Basketball Conference The World Has Ever Seen. Combine those two things together with the fact that as a Marquette fan, I have no loyalties to any college football program, and I want the worst thing possible to happen to the College Football Playoff: I want it to be impossible for the committee to decide which four teams to include. In other words, instead of cheering for a specific team, I cheer for College Football Anarchy.
What are we looking for when it comes to College Football Anarchy? Well, the simple answer is top teams losing on a regular basis, but when you come at it from a Marquette perspective, there’s a little bit of fine tuning that you have to do in order to cheer for anarchy at every turn. Look, we’re ronin, in a way. Yes, we have no loyalty to any college football team. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a code to live by and guide our enthusiasm every week.
RULE #1: Always cheer for Wisconsin’s opponent.
This has to be the rule that supercedes all other rules, and this year’s Wisconsin season opener is the reason why. The Badgers open play in 2016 with a home game that’s not technically a home game at Lambeau Field against LSU. The Tigers come in to the season ranked #5 in the country, which, as I’ll explain in a moment, means they should be cheered against under all circumstances.
Well, most circumstances. There is no chance in hell that I’m cheering for the Badgers to win at anything. Basketball, football, track and field, life, nothing but L’s all day long for the Buckys. So, since I’ll be cheering for a top five LSU squad against them, “always cheer against Wisconsin” has to be rule #1. Later this season, there’s a chance that Wisconsin could face Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State when those teams are ranked in the top five. If that happens, I’ll be cheering for the Spartans, the Wolverines, and the Buckeyes, and you should, too.
RULE #2: Always cheer for Notre Dame’s opponent.
I mean, seriously, screw those guys and their “oh, look, we’re not REALLY in the ACC” athletic department.
As is the case with the Badgers, I’m not going to be cheering for the Fighting Irish or their ridiculous leprechaun mascot for anything. You can’t be a Marquette basketball fan and cheer for Notre Dame football. That’s gross. It’s 99% as gross as cheering for MU hoops as well as Bucky football, though, so that’s why it’s rule #2.
RULE #3: Always cheer for the opponent of a top five team.
Ok, this is really the governing principle of cheering for anarchy, but we had to have those first two in place to protect ourselves from infection.
Here’s the deal: The College Football Playoff takes the four teams judged to be the best in the country. That means, on a practical level, the top five teams in the country are the prime candidates for spots in the playoff.
Week in and week out, I want those top five teams to lose. Sometimes this might be impractical and foolhardy. Alabama, the preseason #1 team in the country, is playing Western Kentucky in Week 2. I don’t really think that the Hilltoppers are going to win this game. But Alabama will (probably) still be a top five team when that game rolls around, so I’ll be cheering for WKU to pull the upset against the Crimson Tide.
Teams in the top five losing makes it harder and harder as the weeks go on to figure out who actually belongs in the Playoff, and that’s exactly what I want. When the conference championship games wrap up, if there’s a situation where there is seven one-loss teams in the country, and there’s no real way to definitively tell the difference between four or five of them, then that is the essence of College Football Anarchy. Four teams get in, three teams are royally pissed off that they got screwed out of a shot at a national championship that’s not actually a national championship in the eyes of the NCAA, and boy, that’d be glorious.
RULE #4: If two top five teams are playing each other, always cheer for the lower ranked team.
It’s a rare occasion when two top five teams are playing each other. It’s also kind of a bummer when it comes to cheering for anarchy. For example, if preseason #2 Clemson and preseason #4 Florida State are still in those spots in the top five when they meet on October 29th, you should absolutely cheer for the Seminoles to win, thus sending the Tigers tumbling. However, it would be a bittersweet win for anarchy, because FSU would have just done something that showed why they belong in the top five. It’s antithetical to the entire concept of cheering for anarchy to see someone confirm how good they are. We want it to be hard to decide this, not easier, and that’s what an upset between two top five teams does. It is, I suppose, the cost of doing business.
That rule works during the regular season just fine, but it really exists for the playoff itself. You’d best believe that I’ll be cheering for #3 and #4 when the semifinal games roll around on New Year’s Eve, and with a little bit of luck, I’ll be cheering for #4 when that “national championship” game gets started.
Those are the guiding principles of cheering for College Football Anarchy. If you’ve adopted a team, say, Florida State, at some point along the way, I’ll be cheering for Ole Miss on Monday night. If the ‘Noles drop out of the top five but play a top five team, I’ll be happy to cheer for FSU at that point. Nothing personal. Just following the rules of cheering for anarchy.
Things will get started for real tomorrow at 11am Central time when #3 Oklahoma visits #15 Houston. Right near the start of the game, you’ll see a “Go Cougars” tweet on the ol’ AE Twitter, along with #CFBAnarchy. Feel free to use that hashtag yourself as the season goes on. Hopefully we get a very ridiculous season.