From an early age values are enforced upon children, especially those who are involved with sports. Sportsmanship is preached at almost every level of competition. From youth leagues all the way to the professional level, players shake hands following games. However, one aspect of sportsmanship that has been lacking in college football this season is running up the score.
Just this past week South Dakota State coach, John Stiegelmeier, stated in a postgame press conference that he was disappointed in himself, for allowing his team to defeat University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, by a score of 90-6. “I should have been more respectful to our opponent,” said Stiegelmeier. He later added that he apologized to the opposing coach after the game.
While the 90-6 score put up by South Dakota State is an extreme example of running up the score, it is not uncommon within the sport. In total, through the first three weeks of the season 64 games have featured one team who scored more than 50 points. Additionally, 47 games have had the winning margin be at least 40 points.
This trend is not unprecedented or unexpected in college football. The early weeks of the season often feature mismatches, that pit larger schools who put more money into their programs, against smaller programs. However, there is a reason for the blowout victories that goes beyond the playing field.
College football is one of the rare sports where standings based just off wins and losses, tend to mean very little. There are only four teams that make the playoffs at the conclusion of the season. Those teams are selected by a committee, whose job is to determine the four best and most worthy teams of competing for a championship.
While it may seem unsportsmanlike to win a game by more than 40 points, or even score into the 60’s and 70’s, it can be seen as necessary in order to impress the committee. While teams should not be penalized for winning by such an amount of points, Texas Tech’s 77-0 victory over Lamar should be taken as no more impressive than Clemson’s 38-7 win over Georgia Southern.
In a sport that features amature athletes, it is important to keep sportsmanship in mind. It is unfortunate to see some programs feel it is necessary and impressive to win by so many points.
All Stats via ESPN.com