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From The “Sports Thoughts By Big P” Vault: Why the BCS does, in fact, stink

Now, I thought I would pull this out from the “unpublished” section of my sports blog drafts, considering college football season is about to start up again. This was a response to an article I read awhile back, about why the BCS was actually a GOOD thing. It was around the time Oklahoma “won” the right to play Florida for the BCS National Championship, and I was frustrated that Texas was overlooked (I know, I know – I’m not from Texas, and I didn’t go to UT – I don’t care). The article ticked me off so much, I decided to go off on it – the only problem was, I never finished it … until now.

The truth is, I can’t find the article I was responding to, but here were its arguments as to why the BCS was a good thing for college football:

Ratings: the “controversial” matchups that the BCS provides are a great ratings draw. Whether you love it or hate it, you’ll watch the Bowl Championship Series. It’s as simple as that.

Past History: The BCS, as frustrating as it can be, is actually much better than the systems in the past that determined the National Champion – where split national champs and confusing end-of-season rankings ruled.

Debates are fun: the debates about the BCS are what drives the industry – if it weren’t for the controversy, it wouldn’t be as interesting. And, hey – you love talking about it, right?

Other bowls would lose significance: With the implementation of a playoff system, the bowl system would lose all meaning – bowl games wouldn’t be as interesting anymore, and would lose ratings.

Every game matters/regular season has “sizzle”: Every game, under the BCS system, is like a playoff game for most schools. If you lose, you’re essentially out. If there was a playoff season, that significance disappears.

“Screw the little guys …” : No one cares about Cinderella stories like Boise State or Hawaii, anyway – only the big dogs like Florida, Texas and Oklahoma belong in the National Championship game.

And, here was my response:

Ratings

Many BCS supporters say that the “controversial” matchups and debate of the BCS draw good ratings. I could easily make the argument that, if these “controversial” matchups continue, people will respond by boycotting the games altogether in utter frustration for the system, and the ratings would fall.

Past History

Yes, I understand that the systems of the past were as frustrating as the BCS – arguably worse so. But are you really going to use that logic to say that the BCS is acceptable? Because we were worse off in the past? To use an excuse like “this system is better than the past” is such a copout … It’s literally this mindset:

“Man, Mike Nolan SUCKS as the Niners head coach.”
“Sure, but at least he’s not Dennis Erickson.”
“Yeah, you’re right – let’s keep Mike Nolan around!”

Seriously?

Debates are fun

When it comes to the BCS, debates are NOT fun – they are frustrating, and annoying, and without end. And, besides, no matter what BCS detractors say, BCS supporters have this one fact to fall back on: it will never change. Game over, trump card, end of discussion – and that’s probably the most frustrating thing of all.

The fact of the matter is, the BCS is an extremely flawed system in search of a consensus National champion. If it did the job it was designed to do, we wouldn’t even be having a debate about it. Say what you want about the “benefits” of BCS debates – the bottom line is that a playoff would settle things on the field, and not in the realm of hypotheticals and politics. It sickens me that a team like Utah – that went 13-0 and annihilated a team everyone agreed was the number 1 team in the nation for a full month in Alabama – doesn’t get a shot at number 1 because their regular season schedule, as well as their conference, was deemed “too weak” for any real consideration.

Other Bowls would lose significance

Give me a break. As if the papajohns.com Bowl, the Meineke Car Care Bowl and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl had huge significance to begin with. Let’s be honest, here – the only people who care about the lesser bowls – in this system – are the fans of the two schools participating, and the sponsors. That’s it.

I don’t understand why instituting a playoff would take away any significance to the other 20 Bowl games played. Someone explain to me how that makes any sense.

Every game matters/regular season has “sizzle”

Okay … if every game matters, why are Florida (who lost in week 2) and Oklahoma (who lost in week 5) in the National Championship? The truth is this: it’s not necessarily the best teams who go to the National Championship game – it’s the hottest. It’s an unfair system – you’re better off losing in the first half of the season than the last game. You go 11-0, and stumble in the final regular season game – kiss the championship goodbye. Meanwhile, an 11-1 team that lost in week 1 is more likely to get the nod to go to the championship game. If it’s a “single-elimination” season, as I’ve heard many experts call this system, then shouldn’t have those teams that lost early in the season have as little of a chance at making the championship as the ones that lose late in the season?

Alright, forget that. BCS supporters trot out the old “a playoff would render the regular season meaningless” nonsense. That’s right – NONSENSE. The fact is, if that’s the case, then why is the regular season so exciting in other sports? A Packers/Vikings or Steelers/Titans matchup has as much significance in the regular season as any playoff game – even though we have a playoff system in the NFL. So, why would you think that an argument like that would fly with college football, and not any other professional or college sport?

“Screw the little guys …”

I can’t even believe this is a real opinion. I thought people still appreciated a Cinderella story every once in a while. Sure, for every Boise State, there’s a Hawaii; for every Utah, a South Florida. But fans love underdogs, no matter what people say. If anything, a playoff with an underdog like Utah would draw in more fans than any one bowl game. And, imagine the headlines if this happened: “Utah beats Florida for the National Championship!!” Now, why would that lessen the significance of the national title? It would VALIDATE IT! It would declare to the sporting world that ANY team really DOES have a shot of being National Champion. And, hey – I thought that was the point in the first place.

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  1. The BCS & Elitism in College Football: A Critical Perspective | Sports Thoughts By Big P

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