Which do you prefer?
13-0 UCF Knights calling themselves national champions, OR
0-16 Cleveland Browns fans throwing a “perfect season” parade
Sports produce such interesting reactions in people. On one hand, you have the 13-0 University of Central Florida Knights football team. They have legitimate grievances, and a better claim than most, in that they went undefeated and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The same Auburn team that beat both Alabama and Georgia, who are playing Monday for the official College Football Playoff National Championship.
That said, the whole College Football Playoff system, the descendant of the BCS I grew up on, was designed to crown one National Champion. You can’t ever satisfy everyone, but it’s the best we probably deserve. I think it is a fair compromise between a perfect world basketball March Madness style bracket and the fact that 20 year-old kids don’t need to be playing 20 bone-crushing games per season just to satisfy every blogger’s (ahem!) possible “who could beat whom” scenario.
If you accept that no system is perfect and someone will always be unhappy with you, UCF’s “we’re calling ourselves the National Champions” seems a little disingenuous and honestly just rubs me the wrong way. There are of course various opinions.
Now on the flip side of sports, we have the glorious 0-16 Cleveland Browns. A proper sports writer would insert a clever historical perspective here, something like “the Patriots have more Super Bowls titles this century than the Browns have wins”. While that obviously isn’t true, it probably feels that way to the average Browns fan. So what do you do about it? Do you send mean tweets and demand the coach gets fired and all future team decisions be made by a committee of third graders?
Heck no! You throw a parade. A proper, tongue-firmly-in-cheek parade. That’s awesome. That strikes me as funny, cathartic and entirely healthy. And compared to the response out of Orlando, it just seems like a lot more fun.