If you've paid any attention to this blog in the past few months (or if you've known Big and I and have paid attention for the past 10 years), then you know nothing will result in a full blown hell-in-a-cell death match like the playoff versus bowl argument.
No matter what argument either guy uses, a baby gets aborted.
Wait a second.
Yeah, I'm going to stick with that.
Anyway, I think I've realized what the big difference is, and it's a pretty classic scenario: the storied program (aka "Big School") versus the non-storied program (aka "Small School").
Big's a North Texas alumnus. He knows that his school, since entering Division I-A football, was never going to contend for a title. So, in an effort to not lose interest, Big has adopted two other programs to follow closer than others: Texas A&M and Notre Dame. The former has several of his family as alumni, the second is the whole Catholic connection.
What does this mean?
Big doesn't live and die with any school. If his school's doesn't make it (or has a 1-10 record), he doesn't really care one way or the other. That's not to say he doesn't actively root for his school, matter of fact, he's the third biggest North Texas fan and supporter I know. But, if North Texas has a bad year, big deal. Now, if North Texas makes ANY bowl game, it's a big deal. Win or lose, it's a HUGE deal because it's a bowl game.
See? The bowl system offers the non-storied programs a chance to shine on a national stage when, otherwise, they would never get a chance. It's a chance for the students and alumni to have one giant party in a city that isn't homecoming.
It's different for me.
I'm a Texas alumnus. There is one and only one school that I follow. Since I was in elementary school, I've been a Texas fan, and that has only gotten stronger over the years.
What does that mean?
I do live and die with my school. When my school loses, my week is pretty much ruined. I won't go out. I won't answer my phone. I'm usually put on fight watch for a few days afterwards because I don't want to hear it. I have such heated hatred for my rival school that I've uttered the words "I'm going to eff the Sooner out of you" to an ex-girlfriend (true story). There is no other game that matters to me besides the national championship. I don't care about the other bowls. I don't care about the BCS. I want one game, and one game only, the National Championship.
The bowl system doesn't give me that. Matter of fact, it takes away the right I have to even see my team have a fair chance to play. You can say "the regular season is a playoff". No, it's not or else why have a regular season at all? With a playoff, I know that a) my team has earned a legit chance to play for the national championhip via the regular season and b) if my team loses, then at least it was during an honest-to-God shot and run at the the title, not because of polls or computers.
I think that's the elemental difference here. You could get rid of every other bowl on the planet because it doesn't mean a rat's ass to me as long as my team has a chance to play for the title. Big wants the bowls because it gives his team(s) a chance to have the limelight and play for some kind of recognition.
It's not that one system is better than the other or one idea is better than the other. It's a question of having to cater to the few (12-16 storied program schools) or the masses (the other 110 D-1A schools who have a right to the limelight).