would solve everything.
Baseball has College Football's Solution
You may have noticed at some point over the past few seasons that college football fanaticism, as it relates to games and records, is undergoing some changes. With the increase in available bowls, national exposure and ultimately, the whining of the Non-BCS schools for better representation, conference games are actually losing their classic importance. Big 10 teams are actually rooting for their natural rivals, because better records and performance by conference schools means a bigger piece of the pie for your school’s conference, and by extension, your school.
This is fine. It is the natural evolution of a sport in transition to pockets of intense rivalry in an almost club-like setting, to a national, well organized and intensely competitive sport. However, I believe everyone can see the day coming when the balance actually begins to tip in that direction too much. When the performance of a conference becomes so important that the next generation actually begins to become Big10 fans rather than Michigan fans. When the 10 years war loses its importance in history as Big10 vs SEC vs Pac10 takes over as the new rivalry.
This is not fine. College football should be dominated by devotion to a team, school colors, in some cases an Alma Mater or in others, the jersey you grew up cheering for with your dad on Saturday afternoons. And mark my words, that is disappearing. And it makes me sad.
But a solution does exist, in a sport much older than college football. Applause for Mr. Doubleday, if you please. Baseball has the solution. In fact, at one time, the Big10 embraced this solution. Only the conference champion went to the Rose Bowl. In baseball, only the top team in a division (wildcard excluded) goes to the playoffs, and it doesn’t matter how that division performed either. In college football, there are too many bowls, and too much politics involved in the postseason deciding process.
I’m sorry to the Non-BCS schools, but at large bids are destroying the game. They really are. I’m not saying we need a playoff or anything. In fact, a playoff based on some sort of subjective polls is a mistake. It decides nothing, as the NC game has already proven. We need to give every single bowl game a hard and fast conference alliance. This will spur intra-conference competitiveness and rivalries back to the forefront by removing the advantage gained by having a conference as a whole perform well or poorly. Furthermore, like baseball, if we then want to have an NC game (which I do), we ensure a much better mix of teams to choose from in the bowls (if it is arranged in a +1 setup). After all, if I have 6 teams from a certain conference in NC game eligible bowls, I’m pretty likely to end up choosing two of them, not because they’re the best, but because of sheer numbers.
So, football commissioners of America, lets learn from an older, unfailingly successful sport. Absolute and unflinching conference-bowl affiliations. Fewer bowls. More heated rivalries that turn areas of the country to lucrative war-zones than luke warm general affections for a conference. More good football. Less whining. Less crap.
Five teams finished unbeaten. And a playoff that leaves out any unbeaten teams (even teams like Hawaii '07) is fundamentally flawed. If your goal is to have them prove it on the field, then there's no excuse for leaving out a team that won every game they played up to that point.
I'd say eight, but no particular conference is guaranteed an automatic bid for its champion. (If you want to reserve some number of spots for conference champions, that's fine. But the 8-4 winner of ACC Tiebreaker Roulette should not get an automatic bid while 12-0 Utah and Boise State are left out. Take the best N conference champs, whatever conferences they happen to be from.)
was horrible. The following are 5 seasons in a 7 year stretch that Michigan did not go to a bowl (the list would be even more convincing if I included the few years OSU did not go to a bowl when Michigan won the Big Ten). All of these years (except for 1968) Michigan would have been invited to a major bowl.
Year Record Rank (AP)
Fortunately, the Big Ten did away with this stupid rule in 1975, and that year Michigan again did not beat Ohio State, but did go to the Orange Bowl ranked #5 and promptly lost to Oklahoma.
If your goal is to minimize the number of bowl losses Michigan (or the rest of the Big Ten) has, then fine, whatever. But otherwise, it really is about the games, so, uhhh, lets play them.
I'm not suggesting that only the conference champion should go to a bowl. I AM suggesting that the way the bowls are arranged, and their flexibility in choosing teams, makes for a lot of useless posturing and aggonizing and rooting for conferences to get a better ranking. If getting that lessened means lessening the number of bowls total, then so be it.
set up as well. All too often a team ends up going to the same bowl (for example, Michigan went to the Citrus, Bowl 3 out of 4 years from '98-'01) several years in a row. This is all due to the bowls be affiliated with certain conferences.
Over the years, these affiliations haven't changed much, thus making the bowl games less interesting (same local against a team from the same conference year after year).
But prior to these affiliations (the '80's), the bowl bidding process was absolute chaos. It was like watching a torturous game of musical chairs, with many teams and bowls committing to each other before the team's season was over; with both parties in fear of being left out or stuck in a lesser bowl (or lesser team from the bowl's perspective).
But I did not misunderstand the following quote: Baseball has the solution. In fact, at one time, the Big10 embraced this solution. Only the conference champion went to the Rose Bowl.
I’m sorry to the Non-BCS schools, but at large bids are destroying the game.
Utah's perfect season and subsequent dismantling of previously #1 Bama was the best story of cf2008/9. Interestingly, you are advocating change, however, your semi-elitist piece fails to note that non-BCS teams serve as the best catalyst for ANY change in college football. BCS teams are loathe to make adjustments for fear of upsetting the money cart.
In baseball, only the top team in a division (wildcard excluded) goes to the playoffs, and it doesn’t matter how that division performed either.
Unlike your scenario, this is an inclusive policy that lets every team have a shot at the title.
If your goal is to emphasise teams over conferences, I'm confused why you would cement conference ties to bowl games, while at the same time downplaying the thought of the best individual teams (from all conferences!) playing each other to declare a champion. You know, like baseball does.
You failed to observe that I DIDN'T specify those bowl slots should go only to BCS schools. I don't think that at all. I think they should be divided up pretty evenly. The problem comes in when there are at large bids to be divided. So you shouldn't assume.
Bowl games aren't even, and thus can't be divided evenly. Assigning bowls adds a human/political element that you and I both hope to avoid. This seems the same or worse than cf's current system.
That one is true. I suppose it wouldn't work well until bowls were equal in the same way baseball divisional series are.
fyi, you have it exactly backwards. Auto-bids, not at-larges, are (some part of) what ruins the integrity of the BCS.
There are no auto-bids to the title game - it's the #1 and #2 teams in the rankings and if that happens to be Middle Tennessee and Utah State, so be it.
Auto-bids are to the "BCS bowls", and really, I have yet to hear how the Big Ten's autobid to the Rose Bowl is different than, say, C-USA's autobid to the Liberty Bowl.
However, I believe everyone can see the day coming when the balance actually begins to tip in that direction too much. When the performance of a conference becomes so important that the next generation actually begins to become Big10 fans rather than Michigan fans. When the 10 years war loses its importance in history as Big10 vs SEC vs Pac10 takes over as the new rivalry.
I could be mistaken, but I think this is already the case in much of SEC-country, unfortunately.
Agreed. Remember at the end of the LSU-tOSU NC game when the LSU fans started chanting S-E-C? I don't get that at all. If M and Penn St won the title back to back years would we be chanting Big Ten? I don't think so.
In regards to the OP, I couldn't disagree with you more. What about in The Game of the Century in 06? Was the magnitude less because the loser still went to the Rose Bowl? Not at all.
I agree with you that loyalties should ideally be to a team and not a conference, but I'm not sure there is any way to accomplish this. Conference loyalties may be inevitable :(
i dont think this plan has a lot of future because the bcs wants a lot of games because that brings in a lot of money