OT: BCS maintaining the importance of the regular season

Submitted by JDVan on January 10th, 2012 at 11:10 AM

The largest reason given by the BCS for not having a playoff is maintaining the importance of the regular season. With Alabama winning the NC game was the regular season worthless?



January 10th, 2012 at 12:29 PM ^

A playoff shifts the importance of the regular season.  Now it matters for your seeding in the playoffs and so is still very important.  But once the playoffs start it is like a new season people accept this in every other sport why is it you don't hear the things you're talking about there?  

I want a system that rewards people for winning their conference in college football.  Alabama should have had a tougher road the championship game than LSU, instead they played one less game and got gifted into the game by other teams losing.

Why shouldn't we reward teams for improving over the season?  We already reward hot teams by not taking losses early in the year with as much weight as later ones.


January 10th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

But once the playoffs start it is like a new season people accept this in every other sport why is it you don't hear the things you're talking about there?

Because they aren't trying to decide who the best team is. No one thinks the Super Bowl winning Giants were better than the Patriots. What we agree on is that they are Super Bowl champions. That is it.

Mind you, I don't really have a problem with that notion. If that's what we want, I'm OK with it. I just think college football (pre-BCS) is the only sport that tries to reward the team that had the best season, and I think that is a unique and cool thing. I would miss it.

As for why the other sports don't have this discussion, it is because they have had championship games since their inception. The understanding of those games have playoffs built in. College football didn't even have conference championship games until recently, and it never bothered me enough to not make it my favorite sport.

And, because football playoffs amount to a collection of one-offs, I think it is the most ill-suited of sports for a playoff. Baseball, basketball, hockey all play series, which at least attempt to decide who the better team is, not just who played better on one night.


January 10th, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

I agree with your example and I believe that most people would accept that distinction.  My problem is with the acceptance that Alabama is the obvious national champion because they tied their series with LSU without having to go through any of the other top teams to get there.  The Giants at least went through those other NFC teams to get to the super bowl and another game against the Patriots.  At that point they earned their shot, I don't feel Alabama did anything to deserve another game over Okie St.

I also agree that I preferred the pre-BCS system to what we have now but I don't believe we will ever go backwards so I am hoping for the next best thing.  As for the one off that is a limitation of the sport we follow and I'm not sure there is a way around it.  


January 10th, 2012 at 7:38 PM ^

I agree that Bama shouldn't have been in the game. I think this only proves my point: if we can't even get the right top two, how can we get the right 8? What separates the many 2 loss teams from each other? The conference champion route would be OK if we got rid of championship games and used the whole body of work to determine champs. Use the old system, tiebreakers and all, so that a multiple loss team never goes instead of a one loss team. But even this sucks, as conference champs are decided by conference play. It is possible that a team loses 4 non-conference games but goes undefeated in B1G play; are they the most deserving representative of the conference?

The whole thrust of the argument it this: one game is not a great way to decide the better team, so all championship games kind of suck (assuming finding the best team is the goal, not just to pronounce a champ). Conference championships water down the regular season, national championships even more so.

I've got no answers, just questions.


January 10th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

In any tournament model, you're always going to have teams on the bubble who get left out and it hurts.  Whether if you're the 69th team in basketball or the 9th in a fictional football playoff, it would still suck to be that team.  An 8 team football playoff still gives more teams a chance than the current system.  If the current system is the still optimum, then at least add some qualifiers that dictate only conference champions can qualify for the title game so we can avoid this bullshit.  A system that completely disregards conference championships is a pretty serious flaw.

Right now, all we have is a popularity contest that the SEC, with the help of ESPN, has successfully gamed to favor their members.


January 10th, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

But we're talking about debating #6 or #4. There's  a difference between that debate and the debate for #2. A huge difference, in fact. Look, no system will be perfect...there's always going to be someone who gets snubbed. Hell, look at college basketball, there's like 68 teams in the tournament and yet there are STILL teams that the media says get "snubbed". The debate's never going to go away. But a team ranked #7 has less of an argument than the team that was ranked #3 based on a less than 0.01 point difference in BCS standings.

For the record, I don't mind if they were to do away with the BCS and go back to the old way. But the current system as is, can be improved. Since the BCS isn't going anywhere, the next sensible thing is to expand the playoff. 

The argument that a playoff system diminishes the regular season is BS, and was on perfect display last night. Last night's game completely rendered moot the importance of the GAME OF THE CENTURY earlier in the year. It rendered moot the biggest hyped regular season game of the year! In other words, if that's the argument, it's wrong because the current system already diminishes the importance of the regular season on some level. Would a 4 or 6-team playoff really be that much worse? In my opinion, no.


January 11th, 2012 at 7:59 AM ^

Two wrongs don't make a right. The BCS is a joke.. The problem is that a tournament would be a joke as well (as far as trying to reward the team that had the best season is concerned).

I'm not sticking up for the BCS. Particularly after this iteration. But I don't understand people's need for a neat ending and a clear champion. I personally think the old bowl/poll system was great. The occasional split championship, while perhaps unfullfilling on some level, is kind of a cool, unique thing. And if both teams are deserving, that's OK. Mostly,  a messy doesn't fill me with any cognitive dissonance at all. I can handle it, why can't others? I just don't get the fervor.


January 10th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

"Every game counts?"  Bullshit.  If you are in any conference except the SEC and you lose one game, the rest of the season doesn't count.  The BCS must think the average fan has an IQ somewhere around 85.  

With a playoff of conference champions, a lot more games would actually count.  Also, it would encourage great pre-conference matchups.  The BCS is still just the BS to me.

Perkis-Size Me

January 10th, 2012 at 1:38 PM ^

while i do highly agree with you in that we need a playoff system of sorts, there's a reason, or rather several of them, that 1 loss sec teams are considered first. 6 straight national titles, playing in unarguably the best conference in football, and their bowl records against, say, the big ten, dictated alabama being chosen. picking alabama wasn't the most popular choice for sure, but it was the right choice. the 2 teams on the field last night were the best teams in the country.

but you're right, the system does need to be changed


January 10th, 2012 at 12:24 PM ^

When teams only play 12/13 regular-season games, replete with at least a few rivalry games, it's hard to imagine that the regular-season would lose any import. That only happens when you're playing a whole lot of games, as in basketball. And I'd argue that March Madness has in no way killed the Big 10 season, which remains as vital and exciting as ever. All sports, except D1 CFB, have playoffs. Because it's the best and only way. 


January 10th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

Giving the BCS credit for making this awesome sport more exciting in the regular season is like giving the delivery guy credit for a fabulous pizza. 

Common sense tells us that having more teams in the mix jockeying for inclusion and seeding in an actual tournament coupled with a uniform scheduling and rating system that rewards playing hard schedules, would only increase the importance of  the regular season.

For example: On that last weekend of this past regular season, instead of a couple games that mattered, an upcoming 8 or 16 tournament would have created dozens of meaningful games in all corners of the country. Imagine being parked in front of your TV as ESPN did live look-ins on games in multiple conferences while experts speculate about who is in, who is out and who might  play who.   

The every game counts and we have to protect the regular season twin red herrings don't stand up to logic.  

Besides doing an arguably weak job in achieving it's mission of choosing a 1 v. 2 title game, the BCS gives the schools half the money and the fans half the fun we all could be enjoying.  What a loser system.




January 10th, 2012 at 4:19 PM ^

Are we still in the dark ages? regular season includes Preconference play which is in no ways equal I.e wisconsin v. North Dakota st.