BCS Controversy- Debate with BCS Watch

Finally, someone has answered the call! Over at BCS Watch, my call was answered for some healthy debate about the BCS. A well written defense of the system was made, not to be confused with pro-BCS. However, I of course have to disagree. Now let’s get this party started!

The first point is about the money. The argument is this. Since the inception of the BCS, ratings on college football games have only gone up. Stadiums have been filled more consistently. Revenue has been increasing. Therefore, the system works. There is one reason this is wrong and one reason this supports a playoff even more.

First of all, this is blatantly stating that college football is about money. And I quote directly from the NCAA’s Core Purpose statement:

Our purpose is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

I would like the reader to note that the NCAA does not in any way state that college athletics is in any form about the money. I would also point out that no one in a million years can say the BCS is fair or equitable. To say the BCS works because it has increased revenue is to say the BCS is not working, as it makes money paramount, not the education experience of the student-athlete.

But the increased interest in college football has been great for the sport and great for the fans. This is true, I won’t deny it, but let’s look a little deeper. Why are fans tuning into bowl games now more than ever? Why are more people watching college football more than ever? Is it because the BCS has succeeded? Or is it because the BCS has shown us what fans really want- competitive and meaningful postseason play.

Look at what we had before. Random bowls hosting random teams to simply play a meaningless exhibition. All that has changed. There is now a championship game. Winning the bowl game means something. The BCS has created great competition as only the top teams compete in postseason bowl games against each other. Now let’s think critically- wouldn’t a playoff only enhance this? It makes EVERY game meaningful and is guaranteed to be competitive as only the most deserving 16 teams get to compete. A playoff would only enhance the good things the BCS has created.

So to say the BCS is working since it is bringing in money is lame. It’s not supposed to be about the money. And that’s not to mention that a playoff would only bring in MORE money anyway! Instead of 5 BCS bowl games you would have 15 playoff games! That’s three times as many games, meaning around three times as much revenue! Why risk it some ask? What could you possibly lose? Do people watch the Fiesta Bowl for watching the Fiesta Bowl’s sake, or are they watching two good teams play each other? You won’t lose viewership or revenue in a playoff.

Now, the decreased importance of the regular season argument. I hate debunking this one because it sounds so dumb to me when people bring this up. What does the regular season prove right now? That you can be the best team in your conference? And smack around a few I-AA teams at home? Give me a break! What importance? 12 games, with 8 of them coming against just one conference, does not prove anything. This is abundantly clear in past seasons where certain teams (Auburn) are left out of the title game when they did everything exactly the same way as the other guys. 12 games simply is not enough to show us who the best teams are anyway.

And how would the importance decrease? You can’t compare it to basketball since you only play each team in your conference once. You can’t compare it to the NFL for the same reason. The drama is still there. You have to win your conference in order to get into the playoff. That makes every game even MORE important than it is now, for the ramifications of winning each conference increase in importance. A playoff would then only make the results of the regular season more important. And it wouldn’t demand perfection in a season. Losing a game could be tolerated. Out of conference schedules would look impressive again. Florida wouldn’t pad their schedule every year with a I-AA team because they wouldn’t be forced to.

The purpose of the regular season is to get into the playoffs. The purpose of the playoffs is to win the tournament and be crowned champions. Not because you are the best team. Heck, how often does the best team EVER win their league’s tournament? Giants and Pats, case in point. The purpose of the playoff is to yes, give the best teams the best chances of winning. But that doesn’t mean they will. And for people who want every game to be important, they don’t get much more important than single elimination tournaments.

Think on Tiger Woods. He is the best golfer in the world. Does that mean he wins every tournament? No, does that mean the player who beats him is the best player? No. Playoffs in college football are the same way. The best team may not win the championship each year. But hey, do we care now about any of that? Did we care when 11-2 LSU beat 11-1 Ohio State for the championship? Did we say, well Ohio State had the better season, they are the better team. No, we loved watching that game, even if it was a blowout. Many people thought USC was better than Texas. But who cares? The purpose of the playoff is to get the best teams into a tournament. The purpose of the tournament is to see which of the league’s best teams can win it all. National Champions doesn’t mean best team in the land, it means the team who won the tournament of the best teams in the land.

I hate when people think a playoff would be fair if not all conference champions have automatic berths. Why call it the FBS or Div I-A then? They clearly aren’t playing in the same league by that logic. If you put them all in the same league, they all deserve a shot. And winning the Sun Belt is just as hard for Troy as winning the SEC is for Florida. A good team beating a bunch of other good teams is as admirable as a mediocre team beathing a bunch of other mediocre teams.

Remember in the MLB when the NL West champion Padres were barely over .500? Remember last year in the NBA when TWO teams in the East went into the playoffs with losing records while the Suns in the West didn’t get in while being 5 or 6 games over .500? A playoff isn’t perfect as we can see from these examples. It’s not always about the best teams, its about the most deserving teams. And any team that wins their conference deserves to be in there. What’s there to worry about if the SEC is so much better than the Sun Belt anyway? Shouldn’t the Sun Belt champ just collapse against superior competition?

So there you have it. That’s my rebuttal to a few points made by BCS Watch. A bit lengthy, but by now you have all realized I have a lot to say about the matter. Ball is in your court BCS Watch. What do you think about the points I have made? What do you think about my playoff proposal as well? Thanks for the debate, can’t wait for the response, I think this will be fun.