Sunday, November 30, 2008

Plot to Kill the BCS!

If only it were a simple coup. But it's hard to revolt against a committee that the common fan isn't aware of. It's much easier to have a scape goat when it comes to matters such as the BCS.

Roy Kramer, who was essentially the father of the BCS back in 1995 when replaced the Bowl Coalition with the Bowl Alliance, enjoyed the trouble he caused with the new system and fled the scene a few years later as the scape goat for those who wanted a playoff system. He resigned from his spot back in 2002 and the controversy has only intensified since.

So now the question is who fields those complaints about the BCS that seem to be about as rampant as grievances regarding the economy? The simple answer would be John Swofford, the ACC commissioner who is serving as the BCS coordinator. Alas, the commissioners of the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Pacific 10, Southeastern and Western Athletic conferences (and Notre Dame) need to answer to the Almighty Advertiser.

I'm aware this isn't the first or last blog post or article to rip the BCS. It's a relatively old issue but I want to revisit how much better a playoff format would be and how we've come to this point.

Even the media seems to be going the way of the BCS.

"Division I-A college football has the greatest regular season in all team sports, and a playoff system would ruin that distinction." — Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star, Nov. 23, 2008

"The regular season is the main course, not some overpriced appetizer. There still might be a tidier way to settle the championship issue on the field, but don't let it come at the expense of the 12-game meat of the schedule. Want a playoff? It's taking place right now." — Jeff Shain, Miami Herald, Oct. 3, 2008

Both of these quotes appear on the BCS website, as if to create the impression their comments make the system legitimate. I don't see how this could be further from the truth. When was the last time a sport's signature draw was the regular season? If the regular season was what mattered, then we'd be looking at the 2001 Mariners and the 2007 Patriots a lot differently.

Imagine we had BCS-type systems in pro sports or men's college basketball. We don't have the 2007 Giants (as much as it pains me, it was a great story) or George Mason a few years ago. Who doesn't like the underdog? A playoff format gives us an opportunity to watch players like David Ortiz or K-Rod (2002 version, not the soon to be overpaid current one) emerge as post season heroes. Both teams came in as wild cards but rather than being placed in a game against the No. 3 seeds in their league, they actually faced the top teams in the AL in the opening round each time and proceeded to win a championship.

Imagine a Boise State-Alabama National Championship game. Not only would it give a great player like Ian Johnson some national exposure, it would give teams across the country hope. Going 12-0 is quite an accomplishment and the reward would be a bowl that isn't befitting of how your team played during the year.

The strategy, the potential of an upset and the emergence of budding stars are only a few of the reasons a playoff format makes so much more sense than the current format. Am I missing something else here? Well, besides the small money issue, of course. Ahhh yes, money. The root of all evil. I don't get how playoff games would make less money for these advertisers than the Bowl Games. Advertise the same way, call a playoff game the Bowl; I don't care, just have a system in place where a a low-seeded team has an opportunity to win a National Championship.

The Bowl Coalition to the Alliance in 1995 to include the mid-majors (BYU being a prime example) as well as the Big-10 and Pac-10. There was legal action involved when BYU brought the Bowl Coalition to court with claims of a monopoly of big conference teams that were invited to the Bowl Games. My idea is to use this case as legal precedent but to use mid-majors who haven't gained the type of exposure they think they deserve in the current format. Bring in the athletic directors of these schools and they can convey their distaste for the system and form a group to sue the BCS. It may not change things immediately but there needs to be a ground-breaking lawsuit to effect change in college football.

I propose a 16-team format that uses the AP Poll to determine which 16 get in. I consider this to be the most viable poll in terms of accuracy and impartiality. This may not be the perfect system, I don't claim it to be. But, again, this would be a start.

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