this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Another BCS replacement idea
Maybe one day I'll bother to do an introductory post... but it's the internet so who cares who I am.
Anyways, I thought that if you're going to write something about sports, why not make it about one of the most stupid parts of sports. That's right, the much maligned BCS system needs replacing and it's high time someone insulted my idea as well as the current one.
Obviously the biggest problem is that the BCS creates an MNC rather than an NC (for those of us who don't like acronyms, that's Mythical National Champion vs. National Champion (a for-realsy one)). This comes about because there are 119 DI teams and more are being added (I can think non DI team that's been pretty good...). Thus, it's difficult to truly compare teams to one another. As we saw last year you it's possible to lose 2 games in the SEC and make the National Championship Game and yet have a bevy of 1 loss (and in Hawaii's case 0 lose) teams not make the cut. Is the SEC better than C-USA, of course. Are they better than the ACC, yep. Big East, also yes. Pac 10... are we counting USC? Big Ten... depends upon if you look at Michigan's or OSU's record... The Big 12? Who knows? (It's not like the right team from the Big 12 will get to the BCS!)
The point is, as we already knew, when you have people vote it's perception that matters rather than how good a team actually is that matters. So, we need a system that will be acceptable but take care of that problem.
Being "acceptable" entails two things:
1- Not a playoff
2- Preserve the "sanctity" of the bowls
By "sanctity" I mean that the Rose Bowl and to some degree the other BCS bowls have to not lose their uniqueness and luster. What that comes down to meaning is that you can't use the bowls as playoff bowls (explained below) with different names. You have to keep the Pac 10 vs. Big Ten, and other such "Big 6" conference tie-ins.
What I mean by you can't use the BCS bowls as playoff bowls is that you can't institute a playoff system with 8 teams and then stick them in the various bowl locations according to their seeding then continue until you get your champion.
No, there has to be a system that keeps the tie-ins while actually accomplishing something.
Quite possibly the biggest problem with the BCS as it stands is that pollsters have to choose a number 1 and number 2 team. Often (i.e. every year but one since the BCS started) there's been at least 3 teams that can legitimately claim to be the second best or best team in the country. But ya'all already knew that.
My idea hinges on the thought that it'll be pretty rare that there are more than 8 teams that might be good enough to be 1 or 2. Thus, we go back to just putting the conference champs in their respective bowl. That would put the Pac 10 and Big Ten champs in the Rose Bowl, the SEC champ in the Sugar Bowl, the ACC champ in the Orange Bowl, and the Big 12 champ in the Fiesta Bowl. The Big East then is pitted against either the ACC, SEC, or Big 12 champ by taking an at large bid (as they currently do). I would consider changing this but part of the appeal of this plan is how little must actually be changed.
For the final 2 at large bids, if Notre Dame finishes in the top 8 they'll automatically get an at large bid. If a non-"Big 6" team is in the top 8, they too will get an automatic bid. If there are two non-"Big 6" teams in the top 8, only the higher ranked of the two will get the automatic bid.
Then, whether there be one or two at large bids left, those bids will go to the two highest ranked teams that aren't already going to a BCS bowl (regardless of if they're in the "Big 6" or not). The only stipulation would be that no conference could have more than 2 teams in the BCS bowls. This would only come into affect if Notre Dame finished ranked 9 or lower and there was no non-"Big 6" team in the top 8 and one conference had the two highest ranked teams that weren't conference champs.
I probably won't go back and check the standings, but I doubt that this has ever happened nor is it likely to happen.
Let me say what would've happened using last year final BCS rankings before the bowl games were played. Note, for space I'll just show the top 10, nobody below there would affect this system.
1. Ohio State
3. Virginia Tech
9. West Virginia
The Champs were:
Big Ten: Ohio State
ACC: Virginia Tech
Big 12: Oaklahoma
Pac 10: USC
Big East: West Virginia
Taking out the conference champs, the list would look like this:
Therefore Georgia and Missouri would take the 2 at large bids since neither Notre Dame nor a non-"Big 6" team finished in the top 8 and they [Georgia and Missouri] were the two highest ranked teams left. If Georgia for whatever reason had been ranked lower (say 12), then Missouri and Hawaii would've taken the two at-large bids. Kansas would've been skipped over because if Kansas got the final at-large bid, the Big 12 would've had 3 teams in the BCS with Oaklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas.
Who the at large bids play is based on their final rank, the highest ranked at large bid team will play the lowest ranked conference champ from THE ACC, Big 12, or SEC. The lowest ranked at large bid will play the highest ranked conference champ.
Thus, the final matchups (using the above final rankings) would be:
Rose: OSU vs. USC
Sugar: LSU vs. West Virginia
Orange: Virgina Tech vs. Missouri
Fiesta: Oaklahoma vs. Georgia
The fact that ranking matters so much makes every game important. Even a team has already won their conference and still have games, they'll still want to win all of those games to make sure that they face the "easiest" opponent possible.
From those 4 games, you will then have 4 winners (obviously). The national championship game will still be held a week later. The two teams that go to the National Championship game are again chosen by the pollsters. There will be a final poll which ranks only those 4 winners, the top 2 get to play in the National Championship game. The other two don't play any more.
It's notable that this could allow two teams from the same conference to play each other. For example, say the winners of the bowls were USC, LSU, Missouri, and Georgia. Then the pollsters would have to rank those four teams. If the rankings were:
Then the National Championship game would be between LSU and Georgia.
This avoids it being a "playoff". It would essentially be the same-old bowl games with an extra game afterwards. There will still be controvery, but probably signifcantly less controversy. Pollsters should have a very good idea of who the two best teams are of the four winners.
Although, I should admit ranking just those 4 teams was very hard and I think 3 out of the 4 would be good enough to play in the National Championship game
The location of the National Championship game must, unfortunately, still be chosen before the teams playing in it are. This is simply because it's difficult to demand that cities prepare for a National Championship game that they will never play if they're city isn't chosen.
I would consider saying that the National Championship game cannot be played at either of the bowls of the winners, but I think that people would be less likely to agree to that.
Does this still have controvery, yes. Lots. Does it solve some problems, yes. It doesn't solve them all, but it solves some. I advocate this system not because I believe it's the best, but because I believe it's the best that the people in control of such things would accept. The bowls would still be identical to how they are now in terms of their tie-ins (most important for the Rose Bowl) and there wouldn't be a playoff. No new games would need to be added.
The only rule that might need t be added is that the at large bids cannot allow 2 teams from the same conference to play each other in the BCS games. If that was added, then if two teams from the same conference would play each other, then the two at large bids that aren't taken by the Big East champ would simply switch who they're playing.
You're right, my system doesn't solve the problem. But I think that the single extra game worth of data that pollsters would get could be enough to get rid of some of the extra controversy.
Yes, my system puts 4 teams in position to be in the NC game but isn't that better than our current system where more than that claim to be good enough? Sure, most of the time only 5 or so of those teams are good enough, but still many claim to be good enough. This would pit at least 6 of the top teams against each other and then choose the top two amongst the winning 4. This system keeps the controvery of whose the best two amongst those 4 but would [almost] eliminate the controversy of who should be considered for the NC game.
The point of this system is to reduce controversy as much as possible but present a system that the people in charge of the BCS would actually accept. It reduces controversy by making ONLY 4 team eligible to go to the NC game. But, admittedly, it's still very controversial. See the pont?