BCS, Conference Championships, and other insanity

Submitted by wolfman81 on December 5th, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Ok, so this has been bouncing around my head while I was cleaning up the fallen branches from the recent snowfall.  I'm not going to say anything too wild and crazy here (down with the BCS), but maybe I'll say it in a different way.

Conference championship games:  EPIC FAIL

First of all, conference championship games are highly overrated, especially when they are rematches.  Ideally, the conf champ game should decide who the champ is for the conference (regardless of which team wins).  However, this is rarely the case, and when there is a rematch, this game will often muddy the waters even more.  As an example, let's take a look at the championship games this season to see if this ever happens:

MAC:  NIU vs. the Bobcats.  Both teams were 9-3, but NIU was 7-1 in the league, while the Bobcats were 6-2.  Toledo muddies the situation because they were also 7-1 in the league (but 8-4 overall).  It seems like Toledo could have an argument for being the "best" in the conference if the Bobcats had won.  Championship game FAIL.

Pac 10:  Oregon vs. UCLA.  What a joke!  Obviously this FAILs.  But let's pretend that USC was bowl elgible, an Oregon vs. USC game still doesn't work because of Stanford.  Championship game FAIL.

Conference USA:  Houston (12-0, 8-0) vs. Southern Miss (10-2, 6-2).  Here, they had a clear cut champion, who ended up losing.  And let's also note that Tulsa was 8-4 (7-1)...so in effect they played a game between the #1 and #3 teams for this one...and the #3 team won.  Championship game FAIL.

SEC:  The well known case of LSU (12-0, 8-0) vs Georgia (10-2, 7-1).  Raise your hand if you think that Georgia winning that game meant that they were the best team in the SEC...anyone...Bueller?  Right, me neither.  So why did they play this sham of a game?  Because they couldn't play...

SEC championship (part 2):  This will be LSU vs Alabama in a game that should be televised on Jefferson Pilot.  Alabama LOST.  At HOME.  They couldn't even win their DIVISION, much less their CONFERENCE.  The result should be different in the superdome?  Even if Alabama wins, who should the champ be?  13-1 LSU or 12-1 Alabama?  The word of the day is specious (link provided for any SEC fans who got lost here).  SEC championship DOUBLE FAIL.

ACC championship:  Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-1) vs. Clemson (9-3, 6-2).  At least they got the best two teams in the league for this one.  But, in my opinion, this league again had a clear cut champion.  For this one, it could be argued both ways:  VT still has a better overall record, but Clemson beat VT twice, and these two teams were the class of the league.  I'll give this one a PUSH

BIG championship:  Sparty (10-2, 7-1) vs. Bucky (10-2, 6-2).  Here we had a clear cut champ.  And if Sparty had pulled it off, I wouldn't have any qualms about calling little bro the conference champ.  But they didn't.  And now, who should be the champ?  Should Sparty?  I mean they split the season series, and both games were competitive.  And let's not ignore Michigan and Penn State--both 6-2 in the league and having an equal number of losses as MSU and UW.  Championship game FAIL.

So by my estimation, championship games are 0-6-1 this season.  (The SEC gets the -2 because of the double fail...no relevant championship game, and forcing a MNC game that means nothing!)  Conference championships:  Defend your existance

Fixing the BCS:

Moreover, we have another problem.  Oftentimes, the conference championship game loser gets punished because they played an extra game against a high quality opponent.  In all of the AQ conferences the championship game loser could have easily been bumped from a BCS game.  Join me in "maximum chaos world."

Oregon loses to UCLA.  UCLA goes to the Rose Bowl and Stanford still gets a BCS bid.  Oregon plays in the nobodycares.com bowl.

Georgia beats LSU.  Georgia and Alabama get BCS games.  LSU gets the Capital One Bowl.

UW beats MSU...MSU gets Outback Bowl (not even the Citrus...)

MSU beats UW...we can probably assume the same.  (or maybe UW gets the citrus over Nebraska, who they pummeled).

VT beats Clemson...Clemson joins Oregon in the nobodycares.com bowl.

Clemson beats VT...If Boise State and/or Houston had stayed undefeated VT probably doesn't make it because of the autobids.

We replay the 2006 season in 2011.  UM and OSU both get to the game undefeated.  This also sets the schedule for the championship.  OSU wins game 1 at home, Michigan wins game 2 in Indy.  IIRC, Wisconsin was ~#5 in the polls that year.  OSU falls below UW and UM and UW go to a BCS game.  

Flip that scenario (UM wins game 1, OSU wins game 2, UW/PSU/Neb/MSU/Iowa is sitting at 4 or 5 right behind #1/2 UM/OSU).  Now Michigan gets the Capital One Bowl.

To make the BCS have some semblance of logic, and to be consistent with their own mantra (each game matters), they need three rules.

  1. The national championship must be between two teams who won their conference.  [Otherwise LSU v. Alabama part 1 didn't matter]
  2. In order to qualify for the BCS from a conference with a championship game, you must play in the championship game (i.e. you must win your division).  In order to make it from an AQ conference with no championship game, you must be #1 or #2 in your league. (Less important because of ties and other clusterf-y things at the top of some conferences.)  [Otherwise winning your division/finishing ahead of someone in your conference standings doesn't matter]
  3. Any championship game loser must not be punished in the BCS standings by playing a CG.  If they qualified before the CG (from an AQ conference), they should stay qualified.  [Otherwise you get punished for playing a game rather than a tomato can.]

I realize that these rules put a torch to the BCS games that they've got, and it would leave out a number of heavy hitters from this season's BCS (Michigan, Alabama, Stanford)--but then Boise State likes this just fine thanks.  I know it's not perfect, but the BCS is inherently flawed.  That is why we need:

A playoff system

First off, I don't care about the bowl system, as it is so lovingly called right now.  We have way too many bowl games, and too many of them already are untenable, especially for teams that don't travel well.  Colleges need to learn to say "no" to ticket guarantees and force these games to justify their own existence.  If the whodafcares.com bowl was no longer in existence it would be just one less game that I don't watch.

Secondly, as Brian said:

Let's go back to first principles. What is the point of a playoff? Most soccer leagues across the globe play a balanced schedule and eschew the playoffs entirely. The season determines the champion. To them, the American way of doing things is stupid. And when you've set up your league such that everyone plays everyone else home and away, it is. Around here, however, there are very big leagues where balanced schedules are impossible and at the end of the regular season you're not quite sure who the best team is. So it makes sense to have the teams that you think might be the best team play each other.

All I've really done so far is extend this same argument:

Playoffs are assets when both of the following criteria are met:

  1. The regular season is insufficient to determine a best team.
  2. The winner of the playoff can reasonably claim to be the best team.

to conference championship games.  I'm not going to make another bracket here, but I think if we eliminate conference championship games, we could add one more round to Brian's playoff proposal since we have one more week to play with.  At this point, any idea is better than the BCS, right?



December 5th, 2011 at 9:27 AM ^

Amen to all of the above.  The championship games and mega conferences are all about TV/money.  There needs to be a business case for a playoff and those who are making money now need to see that they will make even more money with a playoff before this crap-ola B(C)S system will change. 


December 5th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

I know a suggestion like this means the terrorists have won, but there wasn't a consensus NC (the BCS) until 1998.  Are we really that much better with one?  For the record I think that Bama/LSU game is unwatchable, on principle (two teams from the same conference), for the fact that it was the most over-hyped game the first time around, and from the fact that ESPN's talking heads are insisting that I pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

No championship game and loosly affiliated bowls are better than what we have now, which is straight up SEC favoritism.  I know, this is 'murica and we need a clear cut champ, but not like this.  This is worse.  The fact is, that most casual football followers will nod their heads like those bobble head dogs they used to have in rear view windows in the '70s.

 Go Blue.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:20 AM ^

I won't be watching Bama LSU on principle.  Plus, if last time is any indication, it may be the first team to 6 wins.  I like me some defense, but seriously, 9-6?

I really don't see how the BCS is preferable to what we had before.  Especially since the championship game has become "the SEC champ vs. somebody else".


December 5th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

No.  Just because the BCS is a crappy 1 game playoff doesn't mean it is worse than we had before.  The obvious solution is to expand it.  Even a +1 format would be way superior to anything we have ever had.  I do like the additon of adding a rule that only conference champs can play for the title.  This year's game is a joke due to a lack of such a rule.  If we ever expand up to an eight game playoff, then, considering 2nd place teams starts to make sense.  This year, the playoff should have been LSU vs. Wisconsin and Oregon vs. Oklahoma State.  Alabama & Stanford have no business playing for a title in any scenario with less than 8 teams.

Red is Blue

December 5th, 2011 at 1:45 PM ^

So if only conference champs can play for a title, what about the independents?  I supposed one way to handle that would be to consider the best independent team the winner of the independent "conference" and make them eligible for consideration.  With this modification, a 4 team playoff involving the top 4 ranked conference champions could work. 

I'd like an 8 team playoff better, but then do you limit the field to conference champs only or take 6 (?) conference champs and the rest wild cards. 


December 5th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^

With football each system you come up with has inherent flaws.  A playoff, such as basketball only works because everyone accepts that if they lose they can't go back and claim (but hey we beat that team in the regular season).

The B10 wanted to expand, everyone agreed, and we now have two divisions and a championship game.  The only team complaining is the team that loses that Championship game.  And, I suspect if Wisconsin lost, they wouldn't be complaining like the Spartans.

We are stuck with large conferences and multiple divisions.  The championship game isn't going away anytime soon. 

And, overall, I would have loved to have one in 2006.  We would have played the Buckeyes a second time on a neutral field and likely would have won based on the team we had that year and the homefield crap the bucks pulled with the tall grass.  But knowing that, it may have been a completely different first game - each coach trying to game the other coach in preparation for the rematch. 

I say it is what it is, but if we move to a playoff, then the conference championship needs to be a playin to the tourney (if you lose you don't automatically get into the tourney).  Once you have a 16 team tournament, there should at least be no cause for thinking the NC did not make the cut.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:31 AM ^

Yeah, I was all about ready to say, "nuh-uh..." but that's not true.  From the BCS website:

No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings.

The more I learn, the dumber the BCS gets.

Hardware Sushi

December 5th, 2011 at 10:10 AM ^

I'm with you on 1 of the 3 BCS championship rules you lay out - teams should have to win their conference.

Other than that, the argument for conference championship game reform is tenuous at best. The Big Ten wanted to add a 12th team, wanted to get money from a conference championship game, decided to settle the championship by having divisions and a championship game. The SEC, ACC and Big 12 have been doing this for years; we aren't experiencing some sort of new divisional paradigm in college football, we're just getting used to a 12-team league structure that has been around 20 years.

This part was really annoying to me:

"Here we had a clear cut champ.  And if Sparty had pulled it off, I wouldn't have any qualms about calling little bro the conference champ.  But they didn't.  And now, who should be the champ?  Should Sparty?  I mean they split the season series, and both games were competitive."

What? There weren't any champions named before the championship game. Wisconsin is the champion. Done. The champion wins the championship game. With a conference championship game every team controls it's own destiny, regardless of schedule, at the beginning of the season. No more ties, no more bitching. MSU wins on Saturday, they can go to a BCS game. MSU lost and now they can't bitch. Or they could've beaten ND. Or Nebraska and might've been chosen for the BCS due to only having 1 or 2 losses (like us! ha!). Hell, MSU could've lost to Wisconsin the first time and you know Sparty wouldn't have bitched if they beat Wisconsin in the championship.

The key is still winning on their part. This all sounds like an RCMB complaint.

Had Michigan not been invited to a BCS bowl, we shouldn't have bitched either - we had our chance to beat MSU and win our division and we didn't do it. If Wisconsin wanted to be like MSU and complain, they could bitch that they played MSU in East Lansing two seasons in a row because the Big Ten added Nebraska and the Big Ten had to redo the schedule, but if they played at Camp Randal they would've beaten MSU the first time. Everybody that loses somehow thinks they 'deserve' something but I just can't agree with that.

There's always an excuse and a 'reason' to complain about how your team got screwed but the reality is win and it isn't a problem. Just win, baby.


December 5th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

As far as conference championship games go, often they make things murkier then they began.  This season, we had this for the B1G standings (divisions removed):

Rank Team Conference record Overall record
1 Michigan State 7-1 10-2
2 Michigan 6-2 10-2
2 Wisconsin 6-2 10-2
4 Penn State 6-2 9-3
5 Nebraska 5-3 9-3
6 Iowa 4-4 7-5
7 Purdue 4-4 6-6
8 Northwestern 3-5 6-6
8 Ohio State 3-5 6-6
10 Illinois 2-6 6-6
11 Minnesota 2-6 3-9
12 Indiana 0-8 1-11

One more game only muddies the waters.  I get that we have these "new" rules this year.  But that doesn't mean that the rules aren't dumb.  If "every game matters" then MSU beat Wisconsin on October 22.  Did that game mean less than this one?  Before you write me off as a Sparty...seriously a low blow...let's look at Virginia Tech.  Similarly, VT (7-1) had a better conference record than Clemson (6-2), without a championship game, they would have won their conference and gotten a BCS bid.  And if Boise State or Houston had finished the season undefeated, they would have been left out of the BCS.  Clemson would not have gotten in as an at large were the situation reversed.  My point is this:  Virginia Tech got punished for playing a game against a decent team and we don't want a system that does this.  Now just because they still snuck in, I still think that the conference championship games often harm the team that plays in them, and loses more than any other loss for the season.  And this scenario is easy enough to invent for any team you would like to consider.


December 5th, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

"Did that game mean less than this one?"

Yes, that game was part of the regular season which determines who got to play in the Championship game, the Championship game was just that, the Championship game.  Sometimes regular season games are going to have huge implications, for example MSU/Mich which essentially decided the division, while other like MSU/Wisc will have none (note had MSU lost that game they still would have made the Championship game).  Thats just the way it is.  Just like MSU's chance at the Big 10 Championship did not end when they lost to Nebraska, Wisconsin's chance did not end when they lost to MSU.

Hardware Sushi

December 5th, 2011 at 3:32 PM ^

I'm really confused. You argue one side of the argument with the Big Ten and the other side using the ACC.

So in the Big Ten, MSU has proven they are better by beating Wisconsin at home in the regular season and has a better record so we don't need a championship game. OK, I can go along with that even though I disagree (because our league isn't round robin...the primary competitive reason for having a championship game is so you don't win without having to beat 'the best')

Then you use the example of VT representing the ACC even though Clemson proved they were better by beating them (twice), but they go because they have a better record in a non-round robin conference.

You're arguing VT should win the ACC because their regular-season record was better even though Clemson has clearly proven they're superior head-to-head, twice? If anything, the ACC championship game cleared up that VT wasn't as good as Clemson.

Since we're using examples, let's say the ACC didn't have divisions so Clemson couldn't have their division sewn up 3 weeks before the championship game (like this year) and beat NC State. Is Clemson the ACC champ because they have the same record as VT and beat them?

What happens in a situation like last year in the Big Ten? What happens when the league has two undefeated teams that haven't played each other? Who goes to the Rose Bowl? What happens when there are 4 teams that have circular wins against each other?

Sure, it's redundant to have a championship game in a round-robin league, but each team doesn't play three teams in the Big Ten. So in 2014 when Sparty loses one game to us but doesn't play Wisconsin, PSU, or OSU and we (and Wiscy, Nebraska, PSU and OSU) drop 2 games from beating each other up, you're saying MSU should just be crowned champion over everyone else?

I'm not understanding the logic of not having a championship game in a 12-team league.


December 5th, 2011 at 4:58 PM ^

I'm trying to balance head to head results with a resume at large.  The BCS proponents keep saying things like "every game matters," but they forget to mention that "some games matter more".  I guess I'm a resume guy.  Comparing Georgia and LSU, there was no way that Georgia can win that game and for anyone to make the argument with a straight face that Georgia was better than LSU.  This championship game was worthless.  With LSU vs Alabama let's look at the resumes assuming Bama wins in January:  (Rankings from last BCS standings)

LSU:  13-1
Wins against BCS top 25:  Alabama (#2), Oregon (#5), Arkansas(#6), Georgia (#16), West Virginia (#23), Auburn (#25)
Losses:  Alabama (#2)

Alabama: 12-1
Wins against BCS top 25:  LSU (#1), Arkansas (#6), Penn State (#22), Auburn (#25)
Losses:  LSU (#1)

Who's resume is better?  If I'm an AP voter, I'd vote LSU #1 unless Bama rolls LSU by ~3 touchdowns or more.  I'm just saying that when the resumes are so different, a championship game doesn't bring any clarity.

And just for fun let's add this resume to the mix (we will project a victory over Stanford):

OSU:  12-1
Wins agains BCS top 25: Stanford (#4), Kansas State (#8), Baylor (#12), Oklahoma (#14), Texas (#24)
Losses:  Iowa State

I really don't buy Alabama.  I'd put them #3 behind OSU because I don't think that their body of work is stronger than OSU's season (including or excluding hypothetical bowl games).


December 5th, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

I don't get it.

This seems to be an advocate piece for playoffs, but it has the exact same flaw that you rail against earlier.

Let say you have a 4-team playoffs. Both LSU and Alabama would have made it. What would happen if both of them made to the Championship and Alabama wins?

You woud have 14-1 LSU and 13-1 Alabama. But LSU won, on the ROAD - EPIC FAIL - according to you.

You try to weasel out of that by saying you have to be in the conf finals. But that really doesn't solve it. What if SEC did not have a championship game? What if they don't play conf championship game on a neutral turf? And if Alabama did not make a 4-team playoff this year people screaming bloody murder would be 1000 times louder than what it is now for OSU.

For people who say they are for playoffs, you all seem to value rankings FAR more important than actual plyoff results like Conf championships (if the "better" team does not win.


December 5th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

The question is not "is LSU #1?" but "is Alabama #2".  There are a host of 1-loss teams out there, but I'll stick with OSU and, to a lesser extent, Stanford.  How are we to know that Alabama is better than those two teams?  If there were a playoff, Alabama would have to show that they are better than one of those teams (or someone who had beaten one of those teams in an earlier round) on the field.  By playing against one of those teams, Alabama would have shown that they are #2.  But in the current system the SEC nepotism grants them #2 status.  As it stands right now, Alabama is one of several 1 loss teams and we have no reliable method for distinguishing them.  I'll apply Brian's pet plan*:

#1 LSU vs (#4 Stanford/#5 Oregon winner)

#2 Alabama vs (#3 OSU/#6 Boise State winner)

We'd get the Bama/OSU matchup before we get to the championship so that we _know_ who #2 is because Alabama is the last team standing.  I'd still have a problem with the possibility for a rematch in the NC game, but then we'd have a system that got to this game fairly rather than the abortion of a process that we have now.

* At least in form.  We'd have to decide of Boise gets in over Arkansas, and how hard to work to shift the Stanford/Oregon rematch.


December 5th, 2011 at 11:39 AM ^

Again, that does not solve anything - according to the original post.

Even if Alabama beats OSU in a 4 team playoff and clearly establishes themselves as #2, they still are NUMBER TWO! So what happens if LSU beats Stanford and LSU plays Alabama in the championship and Alabama wins?

You have LSU win over Alabama at Ala and Alabama win over LSU on a neutral site. You are RIGHT BACK at same problem you were railing against. So what does that solve?


December 5th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

Ideally, they should have to beat LSU twice, but that would NEVER happen.  I'd feel better about that matchup after a playoff though because we'd actually have #1 vs #2 as determined  on the field.  I really can't say it any better than this.

(And he does flip Oregon and Boise State in his scenario...damn...I almost wrote it that way.)


December 5th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

No, if you REALLY want a playoff system, you have to accept the fact that people who may not deserve it WILL win the national championship. Was Villanova REALLY better than Georgetown in 1985? Hell no. They just had a nice tournament streak.

If you are not willing to take the winner of the conference championship game, which is basically a playoff game, as the TRUE winner of the conference (which the original post refuses to do unless the "better" team wins the match), playoffs is not going to make things better.

If you REALLY are FOR the playoffs, you have to embrace the fact that barely ranked WVU can win the national championship if they win all the games at the end. If you cannot embrace that possiblity, then you really are not for a playoff system.

Red is Blue

December 5th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

2011 St. Louis Cardinals -- lowest winning percentage of any team in MLB that made the playoffs, did not win division.  2011 World Series Champs -- I'd suppose that would be a "FAIL" too?

If according to regular season performance, the "best" team has to win a playoff in order for that playoff to not be "FAIL" then:

     1)  Lots of playoff have been "FAIL"

      2)  Why even have the playoff -- declare the regular season winner the champ.


Hardware Sushi

December 5th, 2011 at 3:46 PM ^

Well put. This thread (no offense to you OP, just an example) is why I am against playoffs in college football:

No matter how well-designed and thoughtful your playoff system, there's a situation where people end up pissed off and bitching about how they were 'screwed'.

If it's a 4-team playoff, teams #5, #6 and some random Boise-ish team will complain. If it's 8 teams, the SEC will get 4 bids and everyone will complain. If it's still 8 teams and the SEC gets 1 bid, the South will rise up again (ha psych you confederates are weak shit). If it's 16 teams, the kids aren't getting to study enough and the evil monopoly man that runs the NCAA is stealing all the money from them.

We have a number 1 versus number 2 matchup every year for the championship and Michigan goes to good bowls. It's not perfect but playoff reform won't actually stop the complaining...


December 5th, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

"How are we to know that Alabama is better than those two teams?"

We don't, thats just the system we have.  To the extent your point is that a playoff would be a better way to identify the best team or the most deserving team, well no offense, but DUH.  We all know that.  Most of us want a playoff.  But we don't have one now so there simply has to be a method for choosing who the top 2 teams are that will play for the title.  Will that choice sometimes be disagreed with by some or many?  Sure but there's no avoiding that until we get a playoff.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:24 AM ^

I'm sorry but the stuff about the conf ch games is ridiculous. If you want to be the champ, win the championship game.  Just like in many (most) sports, college football has adopted a kind of playoff, a series of championship games.  The winners of those games are the champions.  Its that simple.  The Patriots were clearly the best team when they went undefeated a few years ago but they didn't win the championship.  If the Packers go 16-0 and then lose to the Bears or Lions in the playoffs, whom they'll have beaten twice already, so what, they are not the champion.  The Phillies were the best team this year but the Cardinals won the World Series.

If they hadn't changed the rules perhaps MSU would have gone 7-1 and won the Big 10 outright (perhaps not because likely the schedule would have different).  But they did, and by the current rules the regular season was effectively a race to qualify for the championship game, which they did, and lost.  I guarantee you had they finished 6-2 and Wisky was 7-1 and MSU won the title game, not one sparty would give back that trophy, nor should they.



December 5th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

You don't come out and say it but it seems like you are arguing that there should be no divisions within conferences.  I think there are NCAA rules that force conferences to have divisions in order to have a championship game but I don't understand why. 

Think about a system in which you play 8 random teams within your conference, then the best two teams play in the championship game.

-  Avoid SEC's problem where best 3 teams are in one division and then LSU has to play  Georgia in what seems like a formality rather than a football game. 

-  Also, Georgia didn't play any of the LSU, Bama, Ark trio while Florida played all three I believe.  That's a touch unfair. 

This might be our problem in the next couple of years as the East division looks like an OSU-Wisky battle with PSU likely going down the crapper and we have to compete with Nebraska, MSU, & Iowa.

-  Avoid having to play a "rivalry game" so MSU doesn't get the built in advantage of playing Indiana every year while we play OSU, that's a half game right there they get on us every year.

With no divisions, sounds like your formula would come out 7-0.




December 5th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

I think that I could be against divisions.  You can't guarantee that the divisions will be balanced every year.  Or even close to balanced.  So you can then get some odd championship game matches.  But more to the point, I think that the whole conference championship game contest is not the boon that it is marketed as.  They had to give away tickets to the game in Indy, and even Oregon had plenty of empty seats at their (home) game.    Yes, there is TV revenue, but that would be bigger for a playoff (unless you are the MAC or C-USA...only because they might not get into the playoff and, therefore, not get anything).


December 5th, 2011 at 11:03 AM ^

There is no system that exists in football to insure the best teams win the championship or to even know who is the best.

You can't play enough games in college football to figure it out.   The best you can do is have the best teams from each conference play a playoff.   Teams change from week to week, injuries, schedules, weather etc.  There are so many variables it can't be calculated.   It's not perfect the best you can do is have the teams play.

The champ games are not perfect but they are better than the alternative.  Teams can't play every team in their league so it's not going to be fair to someone.

Was it fair MSU got to play OSU before they figured out to run Braxton Miller?

Was it fair to MSU that we avoided Wisconsin?

Was it fair we played MSU @ MSU in a wind storm? Did that prove they were better?

The best you can do is try and force teams to play as many meaningful games as possible and see where you stand. Based on resume LSU already has proven to be the best team in the country.  This champ game is not fair, but it's the best we can do. 




December 5th, 2011 at 11:40 AM ^

Playoff games are meaningful...

The best you can do is try and force teams to play as many meaningful games as possible and see where you stand. Based on resume LSU already has proven to be the best team in the country.  This champ game is not fair, but it's the best we can do. 



December 5th, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

"This champ game is not fair, but it's the best we can do."

I don't agree with that statement at all. It would be true if it truly was a fact that the SEC is the best conference this year. But that cannot be said with certainty. The B12 might be just as good, or better, than the SEC this year. The problem is that with the matchup of the MNC game this year, we won't know at all.

Imagine this; OSU gets chosen to go to the MNC game. They win against LSU. The SEC is NOT the best conference, nor has the best team. What if LSU wins? Then we can say that the SEC is the better conference, with the better team, and the only ones bitching about Bama not having a shot at the MNC are Bama fans, who really don't have an argument since their team lost to LSU. No other conference, or team could possibly have a beef in this example, not even Stanford, who was plastered by Oregon and didn't win their conference championship.

The best we can do? It's hardly that, although not far off. OSU should have been given the opportunity over Bama, and if Bama fans want to bitch, they can start with their team and their coach who couldn't get it done vs. LSU during the regular season.


December 5th, 2011 at 6:27 PM ^

Are championship games the best we can do?

This year's B1G game was fine. Each division had a clear cut winner. And the division winners were the two best teams in the conference.

But suppose we see UM, MSU, and Nebraska all at 11-1 next year with losses against each other. Tiebreakers will have to settle that, which is a crime since scenarios like that are ostensibly what Championships exist to avoid.

Becuase of tiebreakers, Michigan gets to play in the championship against 9-3 Wisconsin, a team they (and MSU and Neb) already beat, in Camp Randall. 

A lot of guys are saying, "just win, baby" and things like it, but why should this game happen to begin with? We've had a system that saved us fromk this game in the past, and it worked just fine, thank you.

If UM wins, the game is a fraud that should never have occurred. If Wisconsin wins, you have a conference champ devoid of even the slightest pretense of being the best team. Their record is worse, they split the season series with UM , including a loss at home. And MSU and Neb will be rightfully pissed at being passed up for the game, when their record was better than Wisc and they each beat Wisc during the season.

It would be a clusterfuck. It will happen, given enough time. And all it will do is undermine the legitimacy of the game and the divisional setup of the conference. We could wait for that specific hypothetical to play out, or we could just use logic to see how fraudulent these games are. And drop them now, before they do this kind of damage.

As for the BCS, it is not only stupid, but crooked. Playoffs don't fix anything. My suggestion (never happen, but neither will any other) is having a relegation system like in European club soccer: have one 13 team megaconference without permanent membership. Every year, the bottom 3 teams would be relegated to their natural conferences, and the top 3 non-superconference teams (as decided by an open, transparent computer system with margin of victory included) would be promoted to the superconference. Each team plays each team. The National Championship would go to the winner of the division. No championship games. No playoffs. Tiebreakers if necessary. It's a syupid scenario, but since we all seem to want to change the nature of college football to decide a champion, this is as good as the next idea. Maybe not.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:19 PM ^

If Alabama would have lost to LSU in the final week of the regular season and OSU creams OU in the Big 12 chamionship, Alabama is never playing in the BCS championship game.   ESPN owns the SEC network and BCS and wanted two of their boys in the game.  NO way in hell ESPN wanted LSU v Oklahoma St.  



December 5th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

we cannot put the conference champions into the respective bowl games (e.g., the B1G and Pac 12 champions in the Rose Bowl) and then run a plus one or two format from there. Typically when all is said and done in January, we all are left wishing if only x team who won that bowl game convincingly, played y team who won this other one convincingly.

If on the side, the other bowl games can find revenue generating non-championship play in matchups, they can run the beauty pageant bowls ... more power to them.

The way we are set up now, the conference championships are about as meaningful as they are in basketball: you can play your way into a BCS game by winning an AQ championship, but not into the MNC.

Then again, I think the shift to 12 teams, and conference championship games, and the BCS disassociating with the major bowls, is all along the way to what the BCS have already agreed the future holds. We are pawns just watching the gradual transition.


December 5th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

Case in point:

You said that C-USA didn't need to have a CCG because they already had a "clear cut champion".... except that Southern Miss and Houston hadn't yet played during the season, and Southern Miss proved that they are a MUCH better team than Houston.  The way they were able to prove they were the best in the conference was by.... winning the CCG.

After I saw that monstrous fallacy in logic I pretty much said

sorry bro, tl;dr.


December 5th, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

........with this year's BCS MNC game is the fact that there is at least one(and a somewhat arguable two, although Stanford got thrashed by Oregon who lost handily to LSU) team not from the SEC that has a legitimate beef about not being included in the game. If OSU loses to Oklahoma, then there is no argument, and an LSU/Bama rematch is acceptable.

LSU/Bama are PERCEIVED to be the best teams, and LSU's schedule this year heavily supports that perception, but we really don't know for sure if they are the two best teams. And we won't know at all now.

What if OSU really IS the best team out there, and their loss to ISU was truly due to being emotionally wrecked from what happened the previous day for their university? What if those coaches hadn't died in a plane crash? Does anyone think they don't win that game then?

And then we have the results from the first LSU/Bama matchup. 9-6, in overtime. For me, I enjoyed watching this game as it showed a defensive slugfest and was intriguing to watch and see which team would balk first. However, now that I've seen the game, I don't wish to watch it again, no matter what the result is. I'd much rather watch OSU's offense try and score against LSU's defense and see if their defense could possibly stop LSU's ground game enough to win. It would be a much more interesting matchup, and............

...........would give a nearly inarguable national champion if OSU, and completely inarguable national champion if LSU. That should be the goal every year for the MNC game, which is why even in 2006 though I was disappointed UM didn't get a rematch, I also knew it was the right call then. It should have been the right call this year as well.

So, the system itself isn't completely broken. It's just that certain parts of it need to be fixed in order clear up any controversies that may arise. One change that should happen is that a team that didn't win it's conference, if it played the #1 team during the regular season and lost, should be included in the MNC. This makes the regular season as important as it should be. Just this one little change would have a huge impact this year in the MNC, and would have locked in OSU as the opponent of LSU.

I've tried to think of the downside to this and haven't come up with any yet.

-It doesn't preclude teams like ND, who aren't in a conference, from playing in the MNC,  

-It doesn't preclude teams that have been really good, but lost out on some weird tie-breaker rule and didn't play in their conference championship from having a shot. Assume, for example, that Arky had beaten LSU during the regular season. Bama, most likely, would have gone to the SEC champ game(being higher ranked).  Arky would have been #2, but they lost to Bama during the reg. season and weren't the SEC champ. The next in line, most likely, would have been LSU(over OSU), and even though they weren't the conference champ, they had beaten Bama during the regular season, so giving them a shot for the title in this example would have been perfectly ok with me. OSU might still have a gripe about being included, but it would be lessened quite a bit due to being, most likely in this scenario, the #4 team behind Bama, Arky, and LSU, and possibly #5 behind Stanford, since the desire for many to move them up and avoid a rematch wouldn't be as high.


December 5th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

Rule #2 fails for one of the same reasons you stated the championship game fails -- the championship game often pits the best team in the conference against the 3rd or 4th best team.  That rule would preclude Alabama,Stanford and Michigan from playing in a BCS game this year. 

Who are you going to replace them with?  Let's say we stick with the top 14 in the BCS rule. Do you really think Boise State, Kansas State and (oops there is no other eligible team -- you'd have to drop down to Georgia at 16) are better than Alabama, Stanford and Michigan?  The only argument you may have is Boise State, who finished 2nd in the MWC, might be better than Michigan who finished 2nd in the BIG Legends Division.  But if you are the chairman of a bowl committee are you really going to pick Boise State over Michigan?  Not if you want to keep your job.


December 8th, 2011 at 11:34 PM ^

Here's my easy six-step master plan to institute a playoff system in NCAA division one football:

(1). Wait for the BCS television contracts to expire.

(2). Watch as the BCS bemoans the flat return when the networks decline to increase, or even decrease, the amount they are willing to pay for the television rights.

(3). Burst into the meeting room between the BCS and network execs carrying a sheet of college rule notebook paper hastily torn out of your spiral notebook with clumsily written, yet legible, 8 team bracket-bowl proposal, with elevated ratings projections. And a picture of a liger. Because ligers are awesome, being part lion and part tiger.

(4) Ask the network execs how much they'd be willing to pay for broadcast rights to your proposal.

(5). Turn to the BCS execs and angrily tell them to stop playing Angry Birds on their iPhones and to pay attention because this is important and concerns them. Then patiently turn back to the network execs and ask them to kindly repeat the figure, now that the BCS is not distracted and paying attention. Glare angrily at the BCS while you're saying this last part.

(6). Go home and start blogging to everyone about how you saved College Football. You're so cool!

Enjoy the playoffs!