Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

BCS Blunder

If there’s one thing I don’t like about the BCS, it’s the self-serving attitude of the inventors.

“Oh, it’s just what college football fans want,” they say.
“A true national championship game,” they gush.
“They’re full of it,” I answer.

The BCS is not what college football fans want. They want to see fairness, they want to see competition, and they want to see a playoff. Why is it every other NCAA sport is decided by a playoff, but the biggest one of them all comes down to a . . . vote?

“It really keeps people talking about college football,” they opine. Sure, if you want people talking about how stupid the system is.

This year, hopefully, the BCS will raise enough of the ire of fans that when the contracts run out in 2006, hopefully it will go away.

Computer rankings have Oklahoma #1 followed by Florida State, Miami, Washington and the rest. How do they get those computer rankings? Actually, parts of it are kept a secret, (you know, the intrigue keeps people talking about college football, that’s brilliant) and they throw in record, strength of schedule, eye of newt and love potion #9, plus a compilation of the voters polls.

Hmmm, the voters have a say. Interesting.

Coaches who either let their Sports Information Directors do the voting or vote their opponents higher than they should be in order to make themselves look better if they happen to beat that higher ranked team. The coaches poll has always been known as the poll of deceit. The writers poll is equally flawed, known affectionately as the poll of ignorance. Writers don’t see more than two or three teams in the poll in a season, and these days are influenced by whatever some editor of the nightly cable highlight show decides to air that evening. They can vote, but not about college football.

There are ways to determine a national champion on the field, include the bowls and make money. The problem is, for some conference commissioners, not enough money. The NCAA oversees the college basketball tournament, paying out money to each member team, and additional money to the teams in the tournament. The farther they go in the tournament, the more money the school makes. Sounds like a good plan. Except when you look at the big conferences in college football and their relationship with the bowls.

The money paid out by the bowl games goes to the conferences, and on to the individual schools. A conference without a bowl team (Patriot), gets nothing. A conference with six bowl teams (SEC), gets plenty. Need your 6th place team in a bowl? Fine, invent the Music City Bowl. Split the money up, reward the teams actually in the bowls with a little extra, and move on. Keep those other schools down for fear they might actually be competitive some day.

A playoff with 8 or 16 teams would be easy. Some schools might get left out of the season-ending tournament, but that happens every year in basketball. Let the conference champions in automatically, making the regular season important. Figure out a wild card formula, play it over four weekends and you’re finished by the second week of January, at the latest.

Just think, at this rate, Florida State will be off for 6 weeks before playing for the national championship. Will they be “game sharp?” Of course not. Whoever their opponent is will have a month off as well.

By the time the BCS bowls roll around, just about everybody’s forgotten who’s playing where, except in the game to decide the national championship. It has made the other bowls meaningless, and actually demeans their regular season effort.

“Oh, you’re playing in the Fiesta Bowl, great, is that before or after the Orange Bowl?”

It doesn’t matter to me whether Oklahoma, Florida State, Miami, or Washington get to play in the big game. They all should be playing in a big game at the end of the year. A game that means something to them. A game their fans will be excited about. A game where there’s something on the line.

Like a playoff game.