It’s BCS Bashing Time!

All right folks, you loved it last year so it’s coming back this year! Yet again I have found another college football blog at who is pro-BCS who desires to thoughtfully discuss the merits of a playoff vs. the current BCS system. We all know how last year’s turned out, so I thought, why not? Check out the blog to get current on his arguments, as I will now address his points.

You have to be really good and play really well all season to win the BCS Championship

Where to begin? First of all, credit where credit is due. This statement is nearly always true. Obviously to be #1 and #2 after 12 or 13 games out of 120 teams takes a pretty remarkable season. However, in mathematics you have something called the transitive property, meaning the inverse of a statement is true, ie: 1+3=4 and 3+1=4. Let’s look at the above statement. Has everyone who has ever won the BCS championship been really good and played really well all season? Except for 12-2 LSU I could go with that. However, let’s look at the inverse: is every team that is really good and plays really well all season able to win the BCS championship? NO!!!!

2004 is a perfect example of why this system does not work. In a system that claims to reward greatness in the regular season, we regularly see undefeated teams left out of the mix. What more could they have done? In 2004 Auburn and Utah were left out. Just last year you had TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati left out. How good do you have to be or how well do you have to play in order to win the BCS championship? Answer- no one knows! There is no standard! 2/3 of the BCS rankings are determined by the votes of coaches who don’t watch other teams play and media type folks whose poll nearly always matches up exactly to the coaches poll. It doesn’t take a good team who plays well to win the BCS- it takes votes.

Sure, there can be debates about other teams that should’ve had a shot to play for it all, but there isn’t a fluky champion anywhere on the board like the 2007 New York Giants.

If there can be debates about other teams that should have had a shot to play for it all, then you’ve already made my argument. Even the fluky New York Giants earned a spot in the playoff, then beat three straight other good teams who earned spots in the playoff, to get to the Super Bowl, where they beat an undefeated team. What more does one have to do in order to earn a championship? Should we have just foregone the Super Bowl that year and crowned the Patriots champions because they earned it more?

And why isn’t LSU a fluky champion? They won it all at 12-2. There were 6 teams that ended that year with 2 losses and one team that ended with just 1 loss. Who can say USC, Missouri or West Virginia wasn’t more deserving by this same logic? The very fact that one can admit that other teams deserved a shot to play for it all means those who did get that shot were chosen arbitrarily, not by having more merit than the next team.

There’s one undeniable truth in this entire argument; everyone else has screwed up when it comes to playoffs. The biggest concern for college football fans is that someday we might all get a playoff, and it’ll suck just like all the other ones do.

This is your undeniable truth? That every other playoff sucks? March Madness sucks? The Super Bowl sucks? The World Series sucks? On what planet did you grow up exactly? If your argument against a playoff is that all the others suck and so would this one, then good luck convincing anyone that is true. This must have been a quote from someone who has never been to any type of playoff game or who never played sports growing up and never participated in a playoff game.

Try this: go up to any athlete who has ever played in a tournament of playoff game and ask them if it sucked. Ask any fan who has ever attended or watched a playoff game if the playoff games suck. If everyone else has a playoff and you don’t, you’re not likely to win with the argument of “Well, we have it right and everyone else has it wrong.”

While I understand that inviting all the conference champions may be the “fair” thing to do, it is wrong for college football’s postseason, and it is one piece of what is wrong with many current playoff systems.

Yet another pro-BCS guy subtly admitting the BCS locks out certain conferences on purpose. You understand it is the fair thing to do but still don’t want to do it? What can be more messed up than admitting your system is unfair yet cleaving onto it as the beacon of truth in sports? I will never understand the argument made here that if you allow teams into the playoff who just aren’t that good that somehow you are devaluing the regular season. Nothing devalues the regular season more than the BCS system! Don’t believe me?

How much did Alabama’s season mean after week 6? How much did Ohio State’s season mean after week 7? How much did Oklahoma’s season mean after week 8? By November only 4 seasons meant anything anymore. Even then you could argue that only two seasons meant anything. When all was said and done, what did TCU’s undefeated season mean? NOTHING! All the BCS did for them was bring in more money than they would have made under the old bowl system. Now what if they had gone all the way in a playoff? How much more money would they have brought in? And add to that they would have actually been playing for something. Even if TCU lost the Rose Bowl, they still walk away with the cash. Under the BCS the regular season means nothing, only one game matters, and that was played on January 10th.

If we used the authors’ plan in that same college football season, since Florida had clinched a berth in the SEC Championship game by November 8th, they could’ve lost their next 3 games to South Carolina, The Citadel, and Florida State, and still have an equal chance at being named National Champions as undefeated Alabama or Oklahoma.

This is patently false. If Florida had lost its final 3 games and finished 9-3, even if they had beaten Alabama in the SEC championship they would not have played for the BCS championship. Contrary to popular belief, the SEC champion does not have an automatic bid to the BCS championship game.

Firstly, there are legit Cinderella possibilities almost every year…2007 was a banner year for Cinderella candidates, with California, South Florida, Boston College, and Kansas all reaching the #2 spot in the BCS standings, none of which are traditional powers.

So what you’re saying is that college football Cinderellas can only come from the 6 BCS conferences? Sounds like a Cinderella story to me. There was nothing Cinderella about undefeated teams from BCS conferences being ranked #2 in the BCS standings. In fact, the BCS is the anti-Cinderella. No team from a non-BCS conference will ever play for a BCS championship. The BCS makes sure that only the “big names” will ever play in the coveted game. How you ask? Try 2/3 of the rankings being based on human votes. These people choose who play for it all. I’m sure they’re all itching for a Cinderella story like Boise State in the BCS championship.

To see real Cinderella stories, try watching March Madness. Butler last year is a great example. A team coming in at a #5 seed I think it was goes all the way to the end. That is exciting. That is drama. That is something that doesn’t happen in college football.

Secondly, the final month of the current regular season can’t really get more exciting, because instead of five at-large spots, there are only two, and as opportunity to reach a any goal decreases, the stakes and excitement increase.

You think the final month of the regular season was exciting? You then go on to cite the Auburn-Alabama game and the Boise State-Nevada game. Why do you suppose they were exciting? Why weren’t the other 52 games exciting? Because they meant nothing! The only games that meant anything that weekend were the 4 games in which undefeated teams participated. Four out of fifty. And it can’t get more exciting to you?

If there was a playoff then the Pitt-West Virginia game that weekend would have been a lot more interesting. The Tulsa-Southern Miss game would have been exciting. The Texas A&M-Texas game would have meant something outside the state of Texas. A lot more games would mean something so there would be a lot more excitement. As you said, there are two spots right now. So the only games that mean anything are the ones played by teams who can get those two spots. That’s not very many exciting games.

Maybe they don’t want it to become an NFL knock-off, where the regular season is more about hype and talking heads until we get to the playoff, then there is 4 weeks of intrigue, and the 2 best teams of the year seldom play each other for the championship.

Right, because the college football regular season is so amazing. The season ended for about 50 teams on the day it started. The best they could hope for at that point was just to win their conference and get to a bowl game with the biggest possible cash payout. If they aren’t playing for a national championship, what are they playing for? If you get knocked out of your conference championship race, what are you still playing for? Why do people think the regular season means so much in this sport? The whole regular season serves one purpose- to find two teams to play for a championship. Is a two horse race that exciting? Why do you think the Kentucky Derby allows more than two horses to race?

And the two best teams seldom play each other in the Super Bowl? If they really were the two best teams, then they would meet in the Super Bowl every year! If you are better than the New York Giants, then beat the New York Giants! If you can’t do that at home in a playoff game, then stop thinking you are the best team! The two teams who meet in the Super Bowl always earned their spot in that game.

Ah, that was fun. It’s been a while since I got to dissect a pro-BCS argument. I will soon be posting a pro-playoff argument for to respond to. And I do need to give credit again where it is due. This blog supports a change to the BCS rankings since 2/3 being a human vote and half that belonging to coaches is a pretty stupid formula. They also don’t support the paying of college football players beyond their scholarships. For that they should be commended.

I eagerly await a rebuttal.