BCS: Better Come up with Something

May 1, 2008

Better Come up with SomethingYesterday, the BCS committee, which I’m quite sure is made up of a bunch of old-school, money-having, stuck-in-their-ways, afraid-of-change old football guys, voted to reject a proposal for a playoff system.  When I first heard the news, I thought, “that sucks, we need a playoff system.”  Then I heard what the proposal was, and I agreed with the committee.

The proposal was for a system in which the top four rated teams in the BCS poll would play a three game playoff to decide the “undisputed” national championship.  This may seem like a step in the right direction, but it is too small of a tournament to really decide beyond a doubt which team is actually the best.  There would still be too many good teams left out of that picture.  Don’t get me wrong, one of the most exciting aspects of college football is that if you lose one game, your chances of winning the national title are almost certainly over.  This makes it so that every game is exceedingly important.  However, I feel like a tournament system like this would need to include at least eight teams to really be sure we know who is the best, and possibly even 16.  Sixteen is a large number, and it may take away from the luster of many of the other bowl games, which are a valuable tradition in college football and represent a lot of revenue.  Perhaps ten teams would be perfect.  The ten best teams playing a standard single elimination bracketed tournament with the top two seeds earning first round byes and the bottom four going through a play in round could work.  That way, even if we saw games like last season’s USC-Illinois Rose Bowl or Georgia’s shellacking of Hawai’i in the Sugar Bowl, they wouldn’t be the final games of the season.  We would still get to see how teams that blow out another BCS team in the first round fair against teams that had also made it that far.  It would seem like that would increase our certainty about the championship to the umpteenfold.

I believe there is a strong desire among college football fans to have a playoff system and alleviate the confusion.  But perhaps that isn’t the point.  Yesterday I was listening to ESPN radio on my local Los Angeles affiliate, and the on-air personalities were discussing this very issue.  Listeners were calling in, voicing their ideas for the perfect system, and finally one listener had something to say that I found to be highly enlightened, kind of funny, and exceedingly poignant.

“I think the system is perfect just as it is, because if we had a playoff system, we wouldn’t be talking about college football right now.  It’s April, and we are talking about college football.”

Well put.  Perhaps the best thing for all of us sports fans, bloggers, and radio hosts is for the BCS to have disputed national champions every season.


Remain unchanged for another generation – the BCS
Give themselves more money this year since they had to hear a proposal – The BCS Committee
Miss the BCS – Ohio State (only a slightly educated guess on my part)
Take home a BCS Title – The Pac-10 or SEC
Argue incessantly about this issue – anyone who truly calls themself a fan
Write a book of spectacular insights – the listener I quoted
Never know who is the best college football team – everyone