Thursday, January 8, 2009

BCS Bullshit

Anybody else tired of all the whining and crying about the BCS? Of course you are. Regardless of whether you're a BCS Believer or a Playoff Proponent, you've just about had it, I'm sure.

This year, Utah, Texas, USC and either Florida or Oklahoma are going to claim they're the best team in the country. And it won't matter what the BCS standings say - again.

There is no clear solution to this problem. In my opinion, playoffs won't work unless you have Conference Champs fight it out in a single elimination bracket. But that isn't possible. These are college students, afterall. They have finals. Unless the season were expanded into February, you can't get there from here.

The often referenced Plus 1 system is flawed as well. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the fifth team - and there will probably be multiple fifth teams at once - will call foul at their being left out. Afterall, the fourth best team gets a shot. Why not them?

Can't go back to the old AP/UPI method - the internet and the popularity of college football has basically ruled that out. There's just far too much scrutiny for the voters (coaches, press, or otherwise) to be allowed to select a champion based purely on a perceived "beauty contest".

So. What's it going to be?

I think we'll see a Plus 1 system in place soon. I also think it will take one season for some fan base or coaching staff to call foul for being left out of the playoffs. We'll have dumped one imperfect system for another.

I'd rather just keep the BCS. Maybe there's some work to do on the margins. Maybe forcing all BCS conferences to align themselves so that they must have a championship game. Maybe tinkering with the formula. I don't know.

I just think college football is not conducive to the playoff system. It's a square peg that won't fit in the round hole. At the end of a grueling college season, I'd rather have a single contest between the two best teams (perceived or otherwise) determine the outcome. Playoffs work in basketball because of the nature of the game - the rarity of the lowest seeded teams actually upsetting the top seeds. The far fewer outside influences on the contest (no weather, no field conditions, one bad play doesn't generally turn the entire game on it's head, etc...). And the NFL is very different than the college game as well. Obviously, the players are not in school and they are greatly compensated for the playoffs. Plus, a 4 loss season in the NFL is a good season. In college football, 4 losses is mediocre for most BCS programs. Imagine a 4 loss team making it through the playoffs to win the national championship. Extreme example, but depending on the model, it could happen. (probably not in the Plus 1, though)

Anyway - I say leave the BCS system in place. Tinker with it to make it different, if not better. And just ignore the inevitable whining that will take place regardless of what system is adopted. If USC has 1 loss and isn't considered in contention, they will always bitch about it, regardless of the system. Same goes for most teams.

Let them bitch. Afterall - it's just a game. (I did not mean a word of that...)


  1. BCS is bullshit! A playoff could work. Take the top 8 teams. Use the 4 major bowls as the first round. Then play two more rounds. Someone will be bitching about being left out. But I'd rather be debating who's #9 than who's #3. Besides #8 probably isn't going to win it but once every 50 years. I also think all polls should be elimated until the season is 5-6 games in so you don't have as many teams that benefit from "reputation rankings".

  2. I definitely agree with your point about polls being counterproductive prior to mid-season. Someone will always put out an early poll, but maybe the important ones could be convinced to wait until week 6.


Don't be rude. Or I will delete your comment. Questions?