I love college football.
I love the traditions, the pageantry. I love the
emotional connection fans of a given program have to their
I love the fact that on any Saturday from September to
November, you can lose yourself in dozens of games
telecast over a dozen hours.
So why is it every year at about this time, I start
rooting for chaos to reign in college football? It’s
simply because of the BCS.
A great date doesn’t end with a swift kick to the groin.
A five-star meal doesn’t end with a rancid dessert. The
best part of a Fourth of July fireworks display is always
the grand finale.
But somehow, the powers-that-be in college football
subscribe to this formula which reduces 97% of its
postseason to exhibition status. Shockingly there are
who call themselves fans who are buying it.
I’ve got a good friend who talks sports on the radio for a
living (nobody in Phoenix), and he defends the BCS as
fervently as somebody
whose got a pastel-colored blazer hanging in his closet.
“You don’t need a playoff in college football. The BCS is
perfect. Every week
of the regular season is a playoff.”
That’s just ridiculous. It’s just one of the many
ridiculous defenses of the worst way to determine a
sporting champion since the Romans pitted Christians
Let’s dissect some of these BCS defenses, shall we?
There is a playoff. It’s called the regular
This is just not the case. Oregon lost in week one to
LSU. They’re still alive and ranked 8th in the current
Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina and Nebraska all have a
loss and all still have a shot to reach the top two in the
final BCS poll.
And you don’t think that the loser of this Saturday’s LSU-
Alabama tilt will still be in the mix to play for the
title on January 9th? You bet your sweet bippy they will.
You can’t ask a team to play 16 games
Why not? Nobody complained about the regular season being
bumped up from 11 to 12 games. Few griped when certain
conferences added a money grab, err, I mean championship
And realistically, only two teams would have to play four
extra games to reach the championship round in a 16-team
Some will offer up the “these kids are student-athletes”
argument. Please. Every other division of college
football determines their championship this way. Does
their neglect of their studies not matter? Players in
FCS, Divison II and Division III are much more likely to
have to fall back on their respective education anyway.
And finally, wouldn’t playoffs coincide with semester
break at most FBS institutions anyway?
A playoff system would ruin the bowls
Two responses to this. First, who cares? Off the top of
your head, do you remember who won the New Era Pinstripe
Bowl last year? Heck, most college football fans in the
Valley couldn’t name who won the Insight Bowl last
and that was played in our backyard.
Secondly, I don’t think a playoff system would kill the
bowls. It would eliminate some of them, because 8 or 16
teams would be involved in the playoff. But the bowls
could still exist. If college football implemented a
playoff system, there would still be plenty of teams with
6 or more wins who deserve some reward, right? Yes, the
outcomes of those games would be meaningless, but they are
under the current system as well.
Why do we need a clear-cut number one team? I
like the argument
This one is my favorite, and I’ve heard many over the
years say it. If you’re one of these people, I have one
question for you…WHY DO YOU WATCH SPORTS?
The whole reason behind sports is to determine a winner.
That’s why the scoreboard was invented. In college
football, there are countless top 25 polls and power polls
released every week. A couple of them (USA Today Coaches
Poll and the Harris Interactive) actually matter in this
twisted formula. Teams jockey every week to get into the
top two in these polls to have a shot at playing in the
BCS Championship Game, and then you want to say with a
straight face that the BCS is good because you don’t need
a clear-cut champion?
So anyway, I asked my BCS-loving friend since he loves the
BCS so much, if he’d be upset if other sports adopted a
similar system to determine their champion. He responded
with some half-cocked analogy about loving his car, but
not enough to live in it. Huh?
Here I am once again in the month of November just hoping
that chaos prevails in college football the rest of the
way. I can paint a scenario where LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma,
Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, Nebraska and Virginia
Tech can all end up with one loss after the conference
championship games, and I am pulling for that to happen.
I’m further pulling for Houston and Boise State to be the
only undefeated teams at the end of the year, adding that
extra layer of debate and controversy.
For those of us who yearn for a fair, just and competitive
way to determine a college football champion, it’s all we
can root for.