landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
With that out of the way, I will now proceed to mention the obvious; the BCS is broken as a system. Very good teams, like 2006 Boise State and 2008 Utah have been shafted, going undefeated, winning a bowl game against a BCS opponent, and not getting a shot at the national championship, as one loss teams from BCS conferences take their place. Furthermore, it is evident that a playoff, a more equitable and fair scenario, will not come about because the BCS is supported by every BCS-conference and most BCS-conference athletic directors. Barring government action (which is somewhat unlikely, especially considering that they have a lot of other crap to do at the moment and steroids are their pet sports issue to mess with at the moment), the status quo will be held for awhile. Therefore, an alternative method of reform is needed.
I'm not going to address the most heavily discussed methods of reform that do not include a playoff, such as a championship after the bowl games or other quasi-playoff ideas. They have been widely discussed and I have nothing to add to them. Furthermore, I have my doubts that anything short of a true playoff will work in practice anyway. My alternative instead attempts to work within the current system, and would simultaneously make college football more entertaining. It is to simply form a new conference that holds the best teams from the MWC and WAC, that could be on level with teams from BCS conferences (or at least be on level with the ACC and Big East).
This conference would not be easily created (re: nearly impossible), considering the contractual obligations involved between the conferences and individual teams. However, it is an interesting idea to consider on paper. To begin, I'll add teams that have been reasonably successful on the football field recently:
- Boise State
- Boise State
- Air Force
- Boise State
- Air Force
- Utah State
- New Mexico
- San Diego State
By no means is this idea flawless. It would screw over the remnants of the MWC and WAC. It would also allow a team like Hawaii to play a schedule of cupcakes, go undefeated, and potentially get a BCS bid and embarrass themselves. Furthermore, it doesn't include teams like Hawaii and Fresno State, who have played well in the somewhat recent past, but don't look to be good in the immediate future. However, what it does do is expand the pool of teams that could make it to the National Championship game, making college football a little more equitable than it is now.
Yes, USC-Illinois turned out to be a terrible game but probably any team that was picked to face USC in the Rose Bowl was going to get blown out. That year, USC lost to Dennis Dixon and had their seemingly-annual loss of focus when they lost to Stanford. However as Michigan knows from experience, USC is always focused in the bowl games.
The first question we can ask is whether Illinois was deserving of one of the BCS at-large spots. The answer to this is actually a fairly strong yes. Here's how it broke down (according to BCS rankings):
#1 OSU and #2 LSU were in the championship game
#3 Va Tech was slotted for the Orange Bowl
#4 Oklahoma for the Fiesta
#7 USC obviously for the Rose Bowl
#9 West Virginia was the Big East champion (but not tied to a bowl)
#10 Hawaii was automatically an at-large team.
So, there were 3 at-large spots to be filled with the following eligible teams:
#11 Arizona State
#14 Boston College
Only one of Georgia/Florida and one of Missouri/Kansas could get picked. So that left Arizona State, Illinois and Boston College fighting for one spot. As Black Shoe Diaries talked about, http://www.blackshoediaries.com/2009/5/30/893422/prepare-yourself-for-po... it is completely reasonable to pick Illinois over those other teams.
Now the Rose Bowl could have taken another team, but it wouldn't have been Georgia since the Sugar Bowl was certainly going to be lobbying to keep an SEC team. That means they were deciding between Kansas, West Virginia, Hawaii and Illinois. Any bowl game is going to avoid Hawaii at all costs so the Rose Bowl is down to Kansas, West Virginia and Illinois. Here are their results against AP-ranked and other notable opponents and what their OOC schedule was:
|Team||Wins vs Ranked||Losses vs Ranked||Other Notable Opponents||Non-Conference Schedule|
|Kansas||none||#7 Missouri 36-28||None. They didn't play Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma||Central Michigan, SE Louisiana, Toledo, FIU|
|West Virginia||#20 Cincy 28-23||#23 USF 21-13||Lost the last week of the season to Pitt 13-9||Western Michigan, Marshall, Maryland, East Carolina, Mississippi St,|
|Illinois||#1 OSU 28-21, #18 Wisconsin 31-26||#7 Missouri 40-34||Beat Penn St (receiving votes team) 27-20||Missouri, Western Illinois, Syracuse, Ball St|
So Illinois had the best and second best wins of the three teams. They also had the best loss (or at least tied with Kansas for the best loss). Kansas only had one loss, but they literally did not play any good teams except for losing to Missouri. None whatsoever.
Also, Kansas and West Virginia lost their last games of the regular season while Illinois beat Ohio State and then creamed their rival Northwestern 41-22.
So, although we know in hindsight that the Rose Bowl should not have picked Illinois ("we should have had hindsight"), it actually was a reasonable pick at the time.
This year, like every other year (except for the 2005 season – USC/Texas NC game), there is going to be some BCS craziness happening at the end of the year. There is actually the potential for 3, yes 3, non-BCS schools with a shot at BCS bowl games. The winner of the Utah/BYU is one, Boise State is the second and Tulsa/loser of the Utah/BYU game could be the third dark horse. With the BCS committee only required to take one non-BCS school in a BCS bowl game, there is the potential for 2 very good undefeated schools not getting picked over a 2 loss SEC or Big 12 team or a 1 loss Big Ten team. As a BCS committee member, what would you do? I am going to pose a scenario for you and would like some discussion.
Big 12 Champion – Oklahoma (13-0)
Big 12 Runner-up – Missouri (12-1)
There is potential for those to be switched.
SEC Champion – Alabama (12-1)
SEC Runner-up – Florida (11-2)
Big 10 Champion – Ohio State (11-1)
Big 10 Runner-up – Penn State (11-1)
Big East Champion – Pittsburgh (10-2)
ACC Champion – Virginia Tech (11-2)
Pac 10 Champion – USC (11-1)
Mountain West Champion – BYU (12-0)
Mountain West Runner-up – Utah (11-1)
WAC Champion – Boise State (12-0)
Conference USA Champion – Tulsa (13-0)
MAC Champion - Ball State (13-0)
Going by what I just laid out, here are the BCS Bowls
National Championship – #1/#2
Rose Bowl – Big Ten Champion/Pac 10 Champion
Fiesta Bowl – Big 12 Champion vs. At Large
Orange Bowl – ACC Champion vs. At Large
Sugar Bowl – SEC Champion vs. At Large
(Pittsburgh automatically gets one of the at large bids)
There are only 10 slots for the BCS bowl games and 6 are guaranteed to BCS conference champions, who will fill the other 4 slots? Here are the candidates: Missouri, Florida, Penn State, BYU, Utah, Boise State, Ball State and Tulsa. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Does an undefeated BYU team deserve to play in the National Championship Game? Does a 1 loss Utah team deserve to be in a BCS Bowl, how about a 13-0 Tulsa or Ball State team, or a 2 loss Florida team? Will Missouri be penalized again for losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game?
This is complete insanity and the BCS needs to take note and make some significant changes to its current system. With the current scenario posed, most likely all of these teams will be ranked in the top 14, but 4 are going to get the shaft and my fear is that all 4 of those teams will be non-BCS teams. I think the worst case scenario for the BCS committee would be for Oklahoma, Penn State and BYU to go undefeated with Alabama going 12-1. At that point who do you choose? With the word parity being used almost every week, the BCS needs to get with the times and see that a 2 team championship game just isn’t going to cut it anymore. I know that I am beating a dead horse with this issue, but I think now, more than ever, the shit is going to hit the fan.
On a side note, I would like to see some comments about who you would put in the BCS bowls based on the posed scenario. This is what I got:
National Championship – Oklahoma/BYU
Rose Bowl – Ohio State/USC
Fiesta Bowl – Missouri vs. Boise State
Orange Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh
Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. Penn State
My apologies to Ball State, Tulsa, Utah and Florida although I think that any of these teams deserves a bid over Pittsburgh and Ball State, Tulsa and Utah deserve one over Virginia Tech. More reasons why the BCS Sucks!