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To all those people who insist a playoff system is the only way to find the true "best team" in college football, I have five things to say to you:

1 The reigning NBA champion, the Miami Heat, had the fifth-best record in the league.

2 At this time last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers were 7-5. They squeezed into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the AFC, then won the Super Bowl.

3 The reigning college basketball champ, those very same Florida Gators you know and love, tied for the third-best record in the SEC last year.

4 The reigning Stanley Cup champion is the Carolina Hurricanes. They had the third-most points in the league. But Carolina needed seven games to beat Edmonton, which tied for the 13th-most points.

5 The reigning World Series champion, the St. Louis Cardinals, were 83-78. How weak is that? Arizona State's football team had a better winning percentage each of the past three years - and the coach got fired.

For all the flaws of the BCS - and there are many - college football still does a better job of crowning the best team than other sports. Even the current controversy will finish with a clear champion: either Ohio State, which will have beaten the next two best teams, or Florida, which will have beaten No. 1 Ohio State.

Michael Rosenberg, Detroit Free-Press

Just for argument's sake

If there were an eight-team college football playoff, here are what the matchups would look like, according to the current BCS standings:

No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Boise State

No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 Wisconsin

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Louisville

No. 4 LSU vs. No. 5 Southern Cal

Number of the day

144,819 That's the number of votes Canucks defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick has in the NHL all-star balloting, placing him fifth among Western Conference defensemen. What makes it impressive is Fitzpatrick's name is not on the ballot. All his votes have been write-in votes because Fitzpatrick, to be kind, is a mediocre player. He has received all these votes, in part, because of website called VoteForRory.com.

Hard-luck players of the day

Thursday night's Lightning game featured the two players who have currently played the most games played in the NHL without a Stanley Cup. The Thrashers' Scott Mellanby is on top of the list with 1,391 regular-season games without a Cup. The second name surprised us a bit: Lightning defenseman Luke Richardson, who has played 1,333 regular-season games.

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