Three dead letters
As Jimbo Fisher lifted the crystal football that declared Florida State the champions of college football, it became clear that the BCS was not broken. The BCS was a lie.
Three letters are so harmless.
When reciting the alphabet, they go in order with little fanfare in positions 2, 3 and 19. When said backwards, there’s no anger or emotions directed at the S-C-B. When scrambled, they could be meaningless or a billion dollar television company. However, there’s one possible order of letters that represents greatness, lying and death.
B C S.
The BCS is now dead. Although it was born in a conference room, it’s debut was in Tempe. It’s first loser became it’s last winner. Immediately following the game, the Wiki page for BCS said it “…was a selection system…”.
Hating the BCS was easy. Attack the one guy who’s computer poll always seemed to underestimate your team became a constitutional right. The consistency of every human poll being diluted with ignorant voters made following the standings a frustrating but necessary challenge.
Any formula that pushes out an undefeated SEC team from playing for a national championship, like it did in the 2004 season, is a failed system. The BCS was vilified in the South for that and the attacks were — depending on the severity — justified. However, the BCS gave us some great moments: both Auburn appearances, a great LSU/Oklahoma game and possibly the greatest game of all-time when Vince Young and Texas beat Matt Leinart and USC.
For the most part, the BCS Championship Games have been very compelling. The intended result of the BCS was to put number one versus number two as said by it’s inventor, former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer. If that was true, the attacks on the BCS are unfounded. The problem is it wasn’t true.
The flaw of the BCS was not the games it produced, but the lies we were forced to swallow from the elites running the system. It was their hypocrisy that doomed the BCS. No matter how many good games the BCS produced, there was one fatal flaw it could never overcome: it wasn’t a playoff. Therefore, the “system-sellers” tried to sell us on the fact that this was good for us.
“We can’t have a playoff because the kids play too many games already.”
Football was an 11-game season for many years. Conference championship games were invented adding a 12th game but for only two teams. In the late 90’s it was an 11-game season unless there was a magical number of Saturdays between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. In this century, suddenly 12 became the norm. If a playoff was just too many games, why were games being added?
“A student-athlete can not possibly stay focused on their studies if we have a playoff.”
Then how do FCS kids do it?
“All this talk about the flawed BCS system is great for college football.”
Yes, and I’m sure car manufactures love it when the nation is talking about recalls due to accelerators sticking. When people hate your product, it is not the time to stick your chest out at the attention you are receiving.
“The traditions of the Bowl Games must be protected.”
Tradition? There’s a Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl.
“A football playoff would drag out the season too long for the student-athlete and stretch the season across semesters.”
Spend one season traveling with a midwestern NCAA baseball team and try to promote that way of thinking with a straight face. Look at the date for the first college basketball game and compare it to the date of the final game.
“We already have a playoff, it’s called the regular season.”
Name one college basketball team since 1985 that ever lost one of their last six games and won the championship. You can’t. Name one Super Bowl Champion who lost in the playoffs. You can’t. If the BCS has one- and two-loss teams competing for a championship, the regular season is not a playoff.
The BCS was designed to do two things. Protect the cash cow that was the bowl system while trying to appease America’s desire to see a true champion crowned on the field. Administrators who implemented the system would then pretend to be handcuffed by it. Critics should relax and just accept the BCS because it’s the best we have.
If administrators were honest they would have said, “the BCS is the best system we can implement while still getting everything we want.” The BCS was never what was best for college football, competition or the student-athlete. The BCS was best for only the bowl system.
The new system will be flawed. It will be controversial. This year, a playoff would have seen a re-match between Alabama and Auburn. The “what ifs” could create dizzying circles of Team “A” losing its last regular season game but becoming a playoff team because Team “B” lost it’s conference championship game after beating Team “A.” Don’t believe that? What would have happened if Auburn lost to Mizzou in the SEC championship game?
The difference with the new system is we’re not being presented lies that the playoff is all that can be done. No one is selling the student-athlete hypocrisy or pretending the bowl games must be preserved. No longer will 124 teams be dwindled to two based on mostly meaningless non-conference games and in-fighting conference schedules that prove little.
The BCS is dead, which is not a tragedy, but not a cause for celebration. The lies from conference presidents on the issue seem to be dead. That hypocrisy was tragic and its death is a cause for celebration.