College football’s parity problem

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(Getty Images)

There are a lot of things that make sports great, with competition perhaps being the headlining characteristic. This is especially true in football — a sport where grown men ram into each other for 60 minutes, constantly racing to get an oval pigskin into the end zone.

This may not be as true in college football, however. Let’s take a look at the last nine BCS and CFP champions:

2017: Alabama

2016: Clemson

2015: Alabama

2014: Ohio State

2013: Florida State

2012: Alabama

2011: Alabama

2010: Auburn

2009: Alabama

Alabama is highlighted for good reason — they have won five of the last nine championship games. By the second week of January 2019, we may be able to add their highlighted name to this list once again.

In the major professional leagues, parity is easier to find. In the NFL, 18 of the now 32 teams have won the Super Bowl since 1980. In the MLB, 22 of the 30 teams have won a World Series since 1980. In the NHL, 15 of 31 teams have won the Stanley Cup since 1980 (the league’s 31st team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, made its debut in 2017–18 and happened to make — but lose — the Stanley Cup).

In college basketball, 19 different schools have come out on top since 1980.

College football isn’t the only league with a parity problem, however. Just 10 of the league’s now 30 teams have won NBA titles since 1980, with seven of them winning at least two. Six of those seven have won at least two in a row.

When going back to 1980 in college football’s championship history, one will see that, yes, 22 schools have become national champions. All of the nine schools listed above have won a championship in that period between 1980 and 2009, though. This year, four teams will have another chance at glory: Alabama, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Ohio State. Alabama, Clemson, and Oklahoma have all won a championship since 2000; Notre Dame won its last in 1988.

Alabama will probably win this season; the team has a +82 point-differential over the four ranked teams they’ve faced this year.

Save for the recruiting violations most major college programs commit in multiple different sports, Alabama is doing nothing wrong. But it’s hard to come back year after year and getting the same result.

Written by

Sports Journalism Graduate, IUPUI. Writing about money, business, electric vehicles, and more.

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