Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Death of the BCS

We've hashed away at this for years.

For Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel, the subject was enough for him to turn into a book that -- dare I say -- helped spring everything that's happened as of late.

And, now, it's time to (finally) lay the BCS to rest.

A committee of university presidents approved a plan for a four-team playoff put forward by commissioners of the top football conferences.


Apparently not one to brag, Wetzel instead recognizes that this necessary step was simply a step and not anything remotely close to perfect. Witness, if you will, how the bowl people took the news.

So they wouldn't even give us a high school-style playoff. They pretended it would ruin the regular season (it won't), that it would curb bowl-game charitable donations (they actually give extremely little), that it would be an impediment to student-athletes' academic progress (everyone always laughed at that one).

They said a lot of things. Almost none of it was true.

In 2010, Rick Baker, president of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, said, "A playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."

Tuesday, Rick Baker, president of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, said, "It's a great day for college football. We congratulate the conference commissioners and presidents for their diligent work to enhance the postseason."

It was all the ridiculousness, all the dishonesty, all the worst parts of college sports. And none of the good stuff, just one measly championship game, often with a disputed matchup, 40-something days after the season ended. 

Wetzel's column, by the way, is a must read. Just do it.

We talked about the BCS in November, when the flawed formula rendered every conference championship game totally meaningless. No matter what happened, LSU was going to play Alabama for the national title. There was nothing that could be done about it.

So much for preserving a meaningful regular season, right? The most important games of said regular season meant were worth less than this blog.

We're supposed to believe a four-team playoff will preserve the regular season in college football.


I'm glad we get to preserve quality non-conference competition like Florida Atlantic-Alabama, Jacksonville State-Arkansas, Bowling Green-Florida, Northern Iowa-Wisconsin, UAB-Ohio State, New Mexico-Texas, and so many others.

Yes, college basketball powerhouses play tomato cans once in a while. But as long as the system in college football lacks any sort of inclusion come postseason selection time, there is little incentive for powerhouses to take on serious challenges. Instead, Oklahoma will travel to UTEP and pat itself on the back for taking that road game.

In fact, if you look at Phil Steele's preseason top ten (Florida State, Oklahoma, LSU, USC, Alabama, Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Florida), here are the true road games that are being played in non-conference action:

Florida State at South Florida
Oklahoma at UTEP
Texas at Mississippi
Wisconsin at Oregon State
Florida at Florida State

You'll count one -- ONE! -- head-to-head game among the ten teams. Obviously, there is some head-to-head from conference rivals in the group. However, Florida-Georgia and Oklahoma-Texas are at neutral sites, and LSU-Alabama only requires that the kickers show up for the game. LSU travels to Florida, but neither LSU nor Alabama have to play Georgia.

But look at the system in college football.

Lose a game, and you're out.

What's the incentive for anyone to schedule a real road game against a real opponent? Why bother?

Plus, if you're an elite program, why would you bring in an elite team for a game, when you can fill your stadium just as easily when you play a tomato can?

Until there is a system that allows teams to lose games -- one that actually encourages real non-conference scheduling -- we're left to dream.

Well, that and look at a schedule grid and pick out matchups that could be happening Sept. 1 if anyone had any guts.

(I already have done some work on this. How about we start with LSU-Oklahoma, Arkansas-Wisconsin, Florida-Texas, and Florida State-Stanford?)

It's a start, and we're all glad to see the BCS go. But college football still has some work ahead, as those with common sense try to cut through all the crap that's been left by those who lack it.

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