The Oklahoma State Cowboys were considered by many to be a lock for the national champions. Especially after they beat the second place team by 31 during the stroke play portion of the tournament. The college golfing world was stunned when the Cowboys fell to the Texas Longhorns in the semifinals. This raised the question: Should match play really determine the champion?
I think this is a good time to look at how imperfect other playoff systems are. Does a 64-team single elimination tournament really determine the best team? Does a four-team college football playoff ensure that the four best teams will play? Is it fair that a 162 game MLB season ends with a max 20 game postseason? The answer to all these questions in my opinion is no. Though it may not seem fair, that’s the thrill of the postseason; you have to bring your A-game night in and night out.
The Cowboys were considered by some to be the greatest college golf team ever, but they weren’t the only all-time great team to not win a title.
Just earlier this year the Tampa Bay Lightning were swept in the first round after tying the record for most regular season wins in NHL history.
Two years ago the Golden State Warriors were one win away from capping off their record-setting 73-win season with a title. As we all know they then blew a 3-1 lead and all they had to show was their record.
Back in 2007, Tom Brady and the Patriots seemed unstoppable after going undefeated in the regular season. The GOAT was able to cap off the season by winning Super Bowl XLII. Yes, I’m talking about Eli Manning, as he and the Giants ended the Patriots’ hopes of a perfect season.
Now go back another 100 years where the 1906 Chicago Cubs finished their season 116-36. I mean there’s no way a team that went 116-36 doesn’t win the World Series right? Wrong. The Cubs dropped the series their crosstown rival White Sox in six games.
The point I’m trying to make is that great teams lose. Just like David and Goliath the little guy just wants it more. They have a fire inside of them that can overcome any giant that stands in their way.
Losing is part of the game. We can’t just change the system just because a great team loses. The Cowboys didn’t show up to play that day and that’s on them. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what format the playoffs are in any sport, if you show up and play well you’ll win.