By BRIAN LESTER
Before long, the college football season will be underway and fans will ignite talk of the need for a playoff system at the Division I level.
NCAA Division II doesn't have that problem.
It's championship is decided on the field.
Until recently, however, I never thought about the flip side of having a playoff system.
I'm talking about the physical wear and tear the regular season and postseason can have on players. The year begins in August with preseason camp and is followed by 10 or 11 weeks of football.
For the teams fortunate enough to earn a playoff berth, the grind of the season takes even more of a toll as teams battle into late November and December.
This year's title game will be played on Dec. 18, a little more than four months after the start of training camp.
Still, as tough as a deep postseason run can be on a team, I doubt many D-II players would trade a chance to participate in the playoffs for a bowl game opportunity.
The thrill of having one shot on a Saturday afternoon to survive and advance fuels the adrenaline rush of competing in the playoffs.
And when the tournament is over, more often than not, the best team is going to be crowned the champion. I like it that D-II and the rest of the small-college football world has a playoff system.
And while the physical toll of it can be tough for players to endure, I imagine most would agree that the pain is well worth the opportunity to compete for a championship on the field.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the topic. I'd love to hear them.