Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Kev Fixes the BCS

So I got done watching all the BCS games in college football this weekend, and this year, as has happened before, the whole thing turned out to be a giant bust. If the whole idea of the BCS was to crown an undisputed national champion, this year they failed miserably, as (just in case you've been in a cave for the past few days) the championship was divided between 12-1 USC and 13-1 LSU. There was a lot of griping when Oklahoma got in the top spot over USC, but others pointed out that Oklahoma's one pre-bowl loss came during a conference championship game, which USC's Pac-Ten conference doesn't have. Lots of people were unhappy with the outcome of the whole mess.

It's obvious that this may not be the best way to do things....but what would be better? Several ideas have been proposed:

Do a full-blown playoff, like basketball. This will never happen. Why? First, the college presidents oppose it. Even though it would probably be a huge cash cow, like the NCAA basketball tournament, it would get in the way of academics, make the season go way too long into the spring semester, and provide greater chance for injury to the players. Plus, if the college presidents don't like it, it won't happen; after too many bad things happened when coaches and athletic directors ran the system, the power resides in the hands of the presidents...where it belongs.

Also, the bowls oppose a playoff system for the obvious reasons that it would destroy the tradition and pageantry (and income) that the bowls have had, some for over a century now. I know that as a UNT fan, I really enjoyed my trip to the New Orleans Bowl; what's the chance of that happening if there were a playoff system. Plus, a school like UNT from a weaker conference would draw a top seed in a playoff format, and they would've gotten totally blown out, in all likelihood.

Also, in a bowl format, a lot more teams can go out winners. In a championship tournament, there's only one winner at the end.

Do a playoff format including the bowls. This would appease the bowl crowd and keep the playoffs confined within a tighter framework of time, but it would likely destroy the historic ties between bowls and conferences; it would mean a lot of extra travel for teams and their fans if they advanced.

Keep the BCS format, but designate one bowl as the championship game the week after the other bowls are played. This would have worked great this year; USC and LSU could play each other next Saturday and decide the title once and for all. But what about last year, when #1 and #2 actually did play in the designated title game? You couldn't just have one bowl that suddenly got cancelled if it wasn't needed...

So this is how I think it should be done (not my idea, but the one I agree with):

Have a playoff game outside of the bowl system that's only used as needed. That way, no bowl would be faced with being unused, but there would be a mechanism in place to have a playoff if the coaches' and writers' polls didn't agree on who was #1 and #2. You could call it the "As-Needed Bowl" if you wanted...or maybe Nike would sponsor it, since I noticed that they had an ad in this week's Sports Illustrated proposing exactly what I just suggested. Maybe they'd call it the "Just Do It Bowl."

At any rate, I bet something happens before next year.

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