BCS Sucks

Submitted by U of M in TX on October 6th, 2008 at 10:49 AM

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!



October 6th, 2008 at 11:22 AM ^

Notre Dame should probably get a BCS at-large bid this year. They did beat Michigan, if you recall. Whoo! Return to Glory! They actually have a realistic shot at 8-4 or 9-3. I smell the Fiesta Bowl!!


October 6th, 2008 at 11:27 AM ^

like chris said, no way BYU gets in to the national championship. And also, it is pretty unlikely that Mizzou gets through the Big 12 regular season undefeated IMO.


October 6th, 2008 at 6:02 PM ^

Are you serious?  Have you seen them play?  They've punted 5 times all season, and have never gone 3-and-out.  They don't play Oklahoma during the regular season.  I'd say it's pretty likely that they are 12-0 going into the B12 championship game.


October 6th, 2008 at 11:43 AM ^

I think a playoff would benefit the wild cards teams. Look at the Cubs/Dodgers series. What if there is no wild card there?
If there was a BCS in basketball, every final four would be DUKE, UCONN, MEMPHIS and whatever other powerhouse. Sure the powerhouses usually win in the end. But along the way a greater sense of truth is found out about some of the over ranked larger conference based teams. And sometimes losses happen in Basketball. James Madison being an example. A tourney, like Lloyd said, would benefit Football overall. But the money men are running it. The BCS is fair in some regards but where it's unfair it seems to be really unfair. Who knows though with the state of the economy, we not even have football next year! Then no bcs anymore, nothing to bitch about :(


October 6th, 2008 at 11:43 AM ^

What you've really done here is decided "BCS Sucks" and then concocted a scenario to screw it over. At the start of the season there are probably ten thousand such scenarios, but ten million where things sort out. It's too early - let things play out some. There'll be upsets. There's never been a season where everybody is that darn good. Is it conceivable? Sure, but they have to play the games first and that's what makes the college football regular season the best of all sports.

You pointed out that parity is the case every week. ("Parody" is what Weird Al does for a living.) So with all that parity, how do you see every conference having one or two super-dominant teams? Let it play out some first.

U of M in TX

October 6th, 2008 at 12:01 PM ^

We are almost half way through the season and the likelyhood of a scenario similar to this is becoming more and more likely.  Whether there are 4 undefeated non-BCS teams or not isn't the issue, it's the fact that deserving teams are going to get screwed because team x or team y will make someone more money which I think is rediculous because we are talking about amateurs that are not even getting paid.  I do agree that the college football "regular season" is spectacular, but don't you feel like you are getting cheated by never getting that "what if" that a playoff would bring?

Parity is duly noted and will be changed.


October 6th, 2008 at 12:16 PM ^

No, I don't think I'm getting cheated at all by not having a playoff.  I'd feel cheated out of the spectacular regular season by having one.  The OSU game in '06, for example, was HUGE.  It would have been just another game with a playoff.  Meaningless outside of the rivalry.

What absolute need is there for a champion crowned by a playoff?  As you said - they're amateurs.  Not getting paid.  I went through a whole high school swimming career as an amateur without crowning a national champion team.  What's wrong with having arguments about it?  That's half the fun.

Besides, many people propose a playoff and then use the BCS formula or something similar based on the polls to select the field.  If the system can't pick two teams fairly, then it can't pick eight teams fairly either.  Your scenario screws a few teams in a playoff, too.


October 6th, 2008 at 3:40 PM ^

It is true we would lose a handful of "Game(s) of the Century" every year if playoffs were introduced.  But, we would gain dozens of games previously irrelevant to the national championsip race by having more teams in contention later into the season.

Also, late season, winner-take-all (i.e. winner goes to championship game, loser is out) games like 2006 UM-OSU are very, very rare.  That game was so exciting because it acted as a... wait for it... playoff!  With playoffs, EVERY playoff game would be that way.

And, that 2006 UM-OSU game was almost made irrelevant in regards to the national championship.  If Arkansas hadn't folded (yes, I know, you can say "what if" about many things) down the stretch in the SEC Championship, there would have been a UM-OSU rematch, thereby making the result of the first game meaningless in that regard.


October 6th, 2008 at 4:05 PM ^

"But, we would gain dozens of games previously irrelevant to the national championsip race by having more teams in contention later into the season."

I don't agree.  Every game is relevant to the national championship under this system.  If you lose, then your only hope is for someone else to lose too.  Under a playoff, nobody cares that USC lost to Oregon State or that Florida lost to Mississippi.  They probably get in anyway.  Now, Ohio State/Illinois is relevant.  Florida/South Carolina.  USC/UCLA.  Alabama/Mississippi State.  They all matter.  Every last one of them, until a team slips and gets taken out of contention.  I like the fact that under the BCS, near-perfection is demanded.  Sure, LSU got in last year with two losses, but that means two things: 1, they had to hope for a LOT of other chips to fall their way, and 2) the other 2-loss teams had no right to complain, because they could have gotten in if they had won instead of lost.  Cliched, but, the whole season's a playoff.

"With playoffs, EVERY playoff game would be that way."

Then what's so exciting?  How many people really tune into the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs anyway?  It was that exciting in part because it was so rare.


October 6th, 2008 at 4:33 PM ^

First point- definitely a valid point.  I'll admit that some regular season games would be devalued to an extent by incorporating playoffs.  In the current system, every game matters for the handful of teams in realistic contention.  With playoffs, games against also-rans become less meaningful since a loss is more easily afforded.

I'd argue that rather than caring about maybe half a dozen teams nationally starting in mid-October, as is the case in most years with the current system, many more teams will be relevant down the stretch.  Instead of having a few games every weekend with an impact on the national championship race, we'd have a dozen or more, though their impact would be less.  SEC, Big 12, and ACC conference championships would be relevant every year, assuming auto-bids for the major conferences, UM-OSU would more often than not be a play-in to the playoffs, every game down the stretch involving any team ranked in the top 10-15 would be critical, etc.  I think some games would become a little less important, and some games would become much more important.

I'm not sure about your second point.  The NFL playoffs get huge, huge ratings- even the wild card games.  Looking at the divisional round would be more appropriate, though, since that's the round of eight in the NFL.  I would, but I don't know where to find that data.

Yes, 2006 UM-OSU was huge.  I think it was the highest rated game since 1993 or something?  But, that game is an outlier.  Regular season games like that are very rare.  Off the top of my head, I can't come up with another game that ever acted as a play-in to the championship for both teams.


October 6th, 2008 at 3:46 PM ^

As much as I love the idea of playoffs, I do agree that college football would be fine without any sort of national champ.  I'd love just watching Michigan to see if they could win the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl, without any sort of national championship in the equation.

Though, I'd still prefer playoffs.


October 6th, 2008 at 12:43 PM ^

Let's break it down. BYU, Tulsa, Ball State, Boise State and Utah all have, at most, two tough games on their schedules. None of them deserve a spot in a BCS bowl, but the rules being what they are, the highest ranked of those five will get an at large bid, leaving three spots. As pointed out earlier, there's a good chance that Notre Dame will finish 9-3 and get an at large bid, leaving two. If memory serves, anytime that a bowl loses its affiliated conference champion to the national championship, they get priority as far as picking at large teams. The Sugar Bowl would likely take Florida (you didn't mention LSU, but they could be ranked high enough to also be an option and would almost assuredly be selected by the Sugar Bowl) and the Fiesta Bowl would take the option of PSU or Missouri that they think would bring in more money.
This really isn't that bad of a nightmare scenario. USC and OSU get passed over in favor of one loss Alabama, but that isn't any worse than most years. The four non-BCS teams that have one or zero losses play such cupcake schedules that they have no room to complain and should simply be grateful that one of them gets a BCS bowl bid.


October 6th, 2008 at 6:06 PM ^

True - but it's mostly been the best MWC teams playing the worst Pac-10 teams.  Although BYU has looked strong this year, them beating UCLA doesn't impress me much.  If they had to go through a real conference schedule like a BCS team, it would mean a lot more to me.  The fact that they play a tough opponent one out of every three weeks makes a season a lot less grueling than playing a touch game week in and week out.


October 7th, 2008 at 8:59 AM ^

You're letting perception skew your view of the conferences.  Don't be fooled into thinking the ACC and Big East are the worst - they're only the worst of the BCS.  The worst teams in the ACC are better than the worst in the MWC, the middle ACC teams are better than the middle MWC teams, etc.  Ask Cal which is better - the ACC or the MWC?

There may not be any ACC teams or Big East teams in the title hunt, but they're still better conferences than the MWC.  I'd rather play UNLV or Air Force any day over Miami or Georgia Tech. 


October 6th, 2008 at 9:09 PM ^

Not every game is relevant to the national title in this system. The vast majority of the time, you're finished once you lose once. And unless it's 2007 and you're LSU, you're ALWAYS finished when you lose twice. Two weeks into last season, we had no shot. In 1980 and 1988 it was even worse. We had national title-caliber teams both of those years, but happened to lose two heartbreakers in the nonconference season - and then tore up the rest of the schedule. 

Really, it's funny that Michigan fans would be plugging this system when it's worked to our benefit exactly once in 50 years, despite us having many, many good teams over that span.  From 1971-74 we went 41-2-1 in the regular season, and yet never had a shot at the title.  In 1992 we went 9-0-3, and didn't get a shot.  We had a loaded team, and probably could have given the national champ (Bama) a game, but didn't get that chance.  (Instead, an overrated Miami team went, and promptly laid a colossal egg.) 

chitownblue (not verified)

October 7th, 2008 at 11:05 AM ^

Really, it's funny that Michigan fans would be plugging this system when it's worked to our benefit exactly once in 50 years, despite us having many, many good teams over that span.  From 1971-74 we went 41-2-1 in the regular season, and yet never had a shot at the title.

What "system" are you referring to? Through 1991, all bowl games were basically based on conference affiliation. The BCS's first season was 1992. So, we got "screwed" in 1992 - leave "fifty years" out of it.

Edit: Actually, until 1998, the Big 10 team champ had to play in the Rose Bowl (hence, why we didn't play Nebraska in 1997).


October 7th, 2008 at 10:59 AM ^

"Really, it's funny that Michigan fans would be plugging this system when it's worked to our benefit exactly once in 50 years, despite us having many, many good teams over that span."

I'm interested in Michigan winning under the best system, not creating a system that would benefit Michigan or tearing down what's there as revenge against it for hurting Michigan.  And I don't think a playoff is the best system.


October 6th, 2008 at 9:32 PM ^

for how highly ranked BYU is right now (#9), if they go undefeated and dont go to the title game it will be a joke.
just by how the system works, if BYU is one of the last 2 (or the only) undefeated team left then they should be #1 or #2


October 7th, 2008 at 4:54 PM ^

BYU's toughest game is against Utah.  Their next two toughest games are UCLA and Washington, which are 2-3 and 0-5 and ranked 8th and 10th in the PAC10 standings.  One of UCLA's wins is against Washington St, the 9th PAC10 team and the other is a squeker over an awful Tennessee team. Utah, the best team on BYU's schedule, has beaten what's probably the worst Michigan team in my lifetime (24 years).  That's their toughest game.  Plug us into BYU's schedule and we'd likely be undefeated right now. 

Put Utah or BYU in the ACC or Big East and they might be able to contend for the conference title (ok, they probably would in the Big East, but they don't really deserve to be a BCS conference anyways).  Put them in one of the other four BCS conferences and they're finishing between 4th and 6th at best.  Any of the other teams in the MWC would be lucky to win a game in the four top conferences.