Inside My Head

(insert witty tagline here so people will think I’m cool)

Yes, Another Playoff Post. Ok, So More Of A Rant.

Posted by Kevin on December 4, 2007

The BCS is a complete and utter failure. Why? Easy. It doesn’t matchup the two best teams in the country as it should. Instead, it matches up the top two vote getters from the polls.

The people behind the BCS are also full of shit. Just look at how they spin how the BCS is so much better than the old poll voting.

Until the early 1990s the selection process for bowl games was disorganized at best; chaotic at worst. Some bowls would effectively make selections after seven or eight games. As a result, the conference commissioners worked to develop a system that not only allows the selection process to be completed at the end of the regular season, but also creates better matchups.

And

The BCS was established to determine the national champion for college football while maintaining and enhancing the bowl system that’s nearly 100 years old. The BCS has become a showcase for the sport, matching the best teams at the end of the season.

Put on your waders; the shit is getting deep.
While I freely admit the poll voting leading up to the creation of the BCS wasn’t perfect, it was certainly no more flawed than the BCS itself. And as far as the BCS creating better matchups, that still carries a great deal of luck in getting those better matchups. The BCS sure as hell does not “match the best teams at the end of the season” as it claims. Sure, it matches #1 vs. #2 every single year only because there has to be a ranking system that has a #1 and #2 team. That does not mean those two teams are deserving of their standing.

And how exactly does the BCS enchance the tradition of the bowls? The only positive thing the BCS did was break old traditional conference ties with some of the major bowls in order to create the BCS bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange). Now that those longstanding automatic ties have been severed, the BCS has actually helped when they finally realize a playoff is the answer to determining the national champion.

The BCS claims to matchup the two best teams. This year, the BCS claims that LSU and Ohio State are the two best teams. What criteria does the BCS use to determine that Ohio State and LSU are better than Georgia, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Southern Cal, West Virginia, and Hawaii? The answer is in the polls. The polls and the timing of each of these teams’ losses (except Hawaii – the only undefeated team in the BCS top 25). Lose early and you have a chance. Lose in the middle of the season and you still have a chance if you were ranked 1 or 2 at the time. Lose late and you’re out unless you win your conference championship and the guys ahead of you didn’t play in their conference championship game.

LSU and Ohio State are not the two best teams. They’re just the two that the pollsters voted up after Missouri and West Virginia had the dubious honors of being the last #1 and #2 teams to fall on the final weekend of the regular season. Ohio State is being rewarded for the Big 10 not having a conference championship game while Georgia is being penalized for not winning their conference division and not playing in the SEC title game (they did tie with Tennessee, the Vols simply won the tie breaker). LSU jumped from 7th all the way to 2nd after escaping the SEC title game. Virginia Tech was ranked ahead of LSU in the week 13 standings and beat a higher BCS ranked team for their conference title and still gets jumped by LSU. Why? Easy. The polls. We’re right back to letting the polls decide who wins championships instead of deciding it on the field.

The BCS screwjobs aren’t reserved for just the title game, either. Missouri got perhaps the biggest BCS screwing of all. Missouri beat Kansas for the Big 12 North division title, meaning Kansas did not play in the Big 12 conference championship game. Yet Kansas is selected to go to the BCS Orange Bowl while Missouri falls to a consolation game in the Cotton Bowl. Oh yeah… and Missouri is still ranked higher than Kansas in the final BCS poll. Why did Missouri get screwed? Easy. They have two losses while Kansas has one. Kansas is being rewarded for not playing in their conference championship game while Missouri is being penalized for playing in it and losing.

I’m also still lost on how the BCS “enhances” the bowl system. It does nothing to enhance it. The BCS simply replaced one broken poll system for another. The only difference is the BCS eliminated the conference ties to the four BCS bowls. That’s it.

A playoff is the only way to determine a national championship. Why is it that DI-A football is the only major college sport without a playoff? Hell, even DII and DIII football have playoffs to determine their champions. For me, the answer lies in the university presidents’ failure to think outside the box. They’re content with a broken system and are not interested in the additional revenue a playoff would no doubt generate.

A playoff would do nothing to harm the traditional bowl system either. If anything, it may help their games mean more.

Many college football “experts” have been claiming for the last couple of weeks that USC and Georgia are the two best football teams right now, yet neither of them are in the title game. Why? If they’re the best, they should be playing for the title instead of LSU and Ohio State. The truth is we’ll never know until you put them on the field and let the teams decide who the two best teams are in a playoff format.

I posted it here a few days ago how a playoff could work. Here are the highlights.

  • Move the start of the season for everyone to the last weekend in August or the first weekend in September.
  • Play an 11-game regular season with one off week.
  • Every conference must have a championship game. Any conference without one must create one. Any conference without enough teams for one must work to get enough teams added to make it work.
  • Every team must belong to a conference. No more special treatment for independents.
  • Play the conference championship games the weekend after Thanksgiving.
  • The top 12 in the BCS poll released after the conference championships advance ot the playoffs. The other bowl eligible teams receive their bowl invites.
  • Two more bowls are added to the BCS structure to accommodate playoff games.
  • Give everyone the second Saturday after Thanksgiving off.
  • Play the first round of the playoffs the third Saturday after Thanksgiving as home games at the higher ranked teams’ home fields.
  • Play the traditional bowl games starting the Monday after the playoffs start. The bowl games can fit into the weeks between playoff games and wrap up the week leading up to the championship game.
  • Play the second round of the playoffs in four of the BCS bowls.
  • Play the third round of the playoffs in the remaining two BCS bowls.
  • Play the BCS Championship game in a rotating BCS bowl.

As it stands now, there are 3-4 weeks of dead time in college football between the conference championships and the first bowl games. In my proposed playoff format, there would only be one weekend off before the playoffs and bowls start. The playoff games are held on Saturdays and the bowl games are played during the week. Now, I know people will bitch about weekday bowl games but there are already plenty of them and their attendance does not suffer from it. I believe my system would generate more excitement in December for college football because it eliminates so much of the dead time. Just space the games out and wrap up the bowls in the week leading up to the championship game.

By including the top 12 BCS teams in the playoff, I feel it gives all of the teams with legitimate potential claims to be the best team a chance to prove it on the field. Don’t use academics as an excuse to not do this either. DII and DIII have 16 team playoffs and seem to do just fine with it.

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