The NFL is the league that gave us "parity" as its compelling vision of the future, without telling us that part of parity isn't really parity but the perception of parity. So the NFL might not really be so even, though it seems that way, which is enough to throw the playoff race wide open halfway through the season.
Another wonder of college football announces itself in the middle of town as the lords of Nippert Stadium enter November playing for their highest stakes ever. A real conference championship race has arrived.
The length of the NFL season really shows on a team like the Bengals. A high school team at 0-8 sees the end in a couple weeks. A college team at 0-8 can still make its season in November by beating the rival. The Bengals are 0-8 in the NFL. They're not reaching the end of this dark tunnel until Christmas.
Though the situation at the top is every bit as fluid as last year, college football is returning to normal. Look at the top three teams: Texas, Alabama and Penn State. It's 1970 again. By mid-December, it's always 1970, even if the mix includes a slightly different group like Ohio State, Southern California, Louisiana State and Oklahoma.
In 14 years since Major League Baseball introduced expanded playoffs, the baseball postseason stands apart from other sports and especially from its own regular season. In no other sport is the regular season less instructive about how the playoffs will develop.
The Reds officially ended their season Sept. 28 with a fivegame losing streak. They unofficially ended their season with a five-game losing streak at the end of July. It seemed like the Reds were always on a five-game losing streak this year. At least we know where they stand.
Maybe the Bengals still have a pulse, which means they're not quite as desperate as those no-good outfits from the 1990s - but they're still 0-3, they're still going to have their hands full with the Cleveland Browns Sunday, their quarterback still is no better protected than David Klingler and the season still is a long way from hopeful.
Six years ago, the Department of Football at the University of Southern California came from nowhere to crash the national title picture and, not quite succeeding, launched a grievance that changed college football. The proof lies not in the Trojans’ easy 35-3 win against Ohio State on Sept.