BCS messes up again

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

What does the BS stand for in BCS? It officially stands for Bowl Series, as in Bowl Championship Series. However, more people, including myself, tend to believe it stands for another well-known phrase.

For the second year in a row, the BCS is messed up. It was designed to determine a true college football national champion. Prior to the BCS, teams played in the bowl games committed to by its conference. The teams that were at the top of the polls did not play each other and it was possible to have two or sometimes three undefeated teams – making it difficult to determine a national champion. The BCS was designed to eliminate that problem and designate a true national champion.

The BCS consists of a computer program that takes into account numerous factors, including strength of schedule and the AP and Coaches Poll rankings and ranks the teams. The top two teams according to the BCS will play each other in a bowl game to determine the national champion. This sounds like a pretty good system, but it does have a huge flaw.

What happens when humans feel three teams are worthy of playing for a national championship? One team gets left out. Last year, there were three teams each with one loss and this year there are three teams with no losses. The thing people feared the most when the BCS was implemented came true last year and could possibly happen again this year, a split national championship.

Last year the Coaches and AP polls voted two different teams number one. That scenario could play out again this year. With the possibility of having two undefeated teams after the season ends, the possibility of having two teams voted national champions is very real. The scenario that the BCS was intended to eliminate – a split national championship – is now coming true. The system as it is does not solve the problem it was meant to solve.

What is the solution then? A limited playoff format. The BCS can and should still be used, but instead of having the top two teams play each other, the top four teams would compete in a playoff-style tournament. The number one and four ranked teams would play each other while the number two and three teams would play each other. The winner of each game would then play each other for the national title.

This solution would allow the possibility for three or even four undefeated teams to compete for the national title. Also, it would allow for a team with only one loss to still have a chance for the national title. The college system right now is set up so that if a team loses one game, it is basically out of the running for a national title. With the four team playoff system, it allows for a team to have an off week and not totally ruin the season.

The first round of the playoffs would happen on New Year’s Day, same as the other bowl games. The winner of the two games would then play two weeks later in a National Title Game. The two weeks would allow the teams preparation time, it would create a moneymaker for the two schools and the network that airs the game. It would be before the schools start their second semester so the players would not be hurt academically.

The argument against the playoff format is that you replace one debate with another. Instead of the argument over which team is number two and should play for the national title, there will be an argument over which team is number four and should be in the tournament. No matter where you make the cutoff there will always be debate whether or not the last team deserves to be there. In the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there are 64 teams that get in, but yet a large amount of discussion always occurs as to which teams got in that should not have, and which teams got left out that should have been in. Since there will be a debate no matter what, it is better to incorporate more teams in the process to encompass all worthy national title contenders.

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