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If the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was supposed to make college football fans drop their demands for a national championship playoff, it is a
complete and utter failure. If the BCS was supposed to bring meaning to the post season bowl games, it is a complete and utter failure. In fact, the only thing that the BCS has done is drive the last nail in the coffin of the old bowl system.
College football is the most exciting team sport in America. No other sport fills stadiums with more than 100,000 fans at a time, week in and week out. No other sport can match the excitement of last week’s UCLA-Miami or Kansas State-Texas A&M games.
However, college football is seriously ill and those who are responsible for its
health have taken leave of their senses. They have sacrificed everything that
makes college football wonderful at the altar of egocentric coaches and advertisers who want to waste their money for meaningless bowls.
On Jan. 4, the two best football teams in America are supposed to compete for a “national championship.” The problem is, they did not invite one of the teams, Kansas State. In fact, the BCS system is so flawed that neither Kansas State, which lost a hotly contested Big 12 championship game in two overtimes, nor Arizona, which only lost to UCLA, were invited to the “major” BCS bowl games.
Think about it. K-State, ranked 3rd in the final BCS rankings and Arizona,
ranked 7th, were passed over for #8 Florida and #15 Syracuse. If the BCS system had any integrity, this couldn’t have happened, and that’s not the worst of it.
Four teams that lost five games each are going to play in bowls. Idaho,
which is the seventy-sixth best team in college football is going to play in a bowl. Every team in the Big 12, including Baylor and Iowa State, are ranked higher than Idaho. Does it make sense for TCU and Mississippi, which both lost five games, to receive approximately the same amount as Kansas State or Arizona, which each lost one game? Should Mississippi State, which lost four games, be paid twice as much as K State and Arizona which lost two games between them? How do you justify Florida and Syracuse being paid thirteen times more than teams ranked higher?
If the BS, excuse me, the BCS system had any meaning, besides Tennessee
playing Florida State, Kansas State would play Ohio State, UCLA would play Texas A&M and Arizona would play Florida. Period. End of conversation.
One thing that makes college football so special is that we reward excellence
on the field. So why does the season always end with the cynical masters of
college football rewarding mediocrity? Why will Miami of Ohio (ranked #45 by Jeff Sagarin), which won ten games and Central Florida (#47), which won nine games, sit on the sideline while Louisville (#51) and San Diego State (#53), which both lost four games, go to bowls? The answer is that when bowl politics kick in, the interests of the sports fans are ignored.
Just think how exciting December would be if the thirty-two best teams in the
nation started the playoffs on the first weekend in December. Every week, the tension and excitement would build. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Arkansas (#12) play Arizona (#9), Missouri (#15) play Wisconsin (#10), and Texas (#11) play Tulane (#14)? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring in the New Year with a real national championship game?
What is so sad is the NCAA doesn’t even come up with good excuses. The
NCAA says that a playoff system would make the football season too long. Excuse me. If high school kids can play five or six playoff games, why can’t older college kids do the same? If the kids from Division I-AA, II and III schools can handle a playoff system, why can’t kids from the big schools do the same? Anyway, Texas A&M and BYU have already played 13 games and still have a bowl game to go. With the system I propose below, every team would play eleven regular season games. The two best teams would play a total of sixteen games, just two more than A&M and BYU will play this season.
The NCAA playoffs have done wonders for college basketball. The buildup to
the “Final Four” is one of the most exciting sports events in America. Wouldn’t it be neat to have the same thing happened with major college football?
Let’s assume that for the month of December, I am the NCAA Commissioner. I would immediately institute a major college football playoff
modeled after what happens with college basketball. I would seed teams by region (using Jeff Sagarin’s ratings) and to maximize fan interest, I would put teams in regions that rarely see them to create new match-ups. Here’s the result:
DOGGETT’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL
They would have played the first round games last Saturday. They would
play the “sweet sixteen” round games this Saturday. They would play the Regional Championship games on the December 19, the same day, by the way, as the meaningless “Las Vegas” Bowl that pits San Diego State (7-4) vs. North Carolina (6-5). The National Championship semifinal games, pitting the winners of the regional championships against each other, would be on December 26. The winners of those games would play a real National Championship game on Jan. 2.
My system would revive interest in college football. If you hadn’t noticed,
except for the largest schools, attendance at games is falling off all around the country. I wonder why? If you prefer the current bowl system to “Doggett’s Playoff,” you are in serious need of professional care.
With my system, the excitement would start with the “seeding” decision and
continue to build. No longer would we have an endless parade of meaningless games. No longer would we have to watch mediocre teams spend a week in Las Vegas, El Paso or Hawaii before they lose again. No longer would we have to watch an underdog play their heart out and win and then go home to watch other teams play the next week. The traditional bowls could still participate by bidding to host the national championship, semifinals, quarter final or regional games.
If you are a real college football fan, you deserve more than the current bowl
system and the BCS. However, things won’t chance until you show the NCAA and its advertisers who’s boss. Boycott meaningless bowl games. Resist the urge to watch them on TV because you are starting to suffer college football withdrawal pains. Go out with your wife or husband, talk to your kids, heck, talk to your dog, but don’t watch bowl games that mean nothing. If bowl advertisers and sponsors lose money on meaningless bowls, they will force the NCAA’s hand and a true college football playoff will be in place for next year.