Jason’s Blog: Bring back the BCS
Posted By: Jason Iacovino
I've said it before and I'll say it again, of all the outrage in modern sports which, apparently, demands reform, nothing has been more slighted than the Bowl Championship Series.
Seriously, I would agree to bringing back a Major League Baseball postseason consisting of only an American League and National League Champion playing a best-of-nine series to determine a world champion if it meant we got the BCS back.
I would go back to a true 64-team NCAA basketball tournament if it meant we could stick to No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the National Championship in football.
I would gladly embrace a true "sudden death" overtime in the NFL if we could turn the clock on this "playoff" notion in college football.
The fact is that the major bowls and most powerful people in college sports (University Presidents, athletic directors, and head football coaches) accidentally created a wonderfully dramatic system of determining which two college football teams would be given the opportunity to play in a winner-take-all, one game playoff, determined by a computer system known as the BCS. It would take into account both imperical, statistical data as well as input from human polls.
No. 1 vs. No. 2 was the best college football playoff we will ever know. But public pressure and the prospect of making even more money foolishly caused these powerful entities to scrap the BCS in favor of a 4-team "playoff" beginning this season.
Instead of an objective computer system spitting out which two teams earn the right to battle for the championship, a handful of bought-and-paid-for college football VIPs will sit in a room and crank out which four teams make the "playoffs."
The BCS was designed to diminish the uncertainty and debate with respect to who is the true national champion--to that end, it largely succeeded. This system opens the floodgates in Noah's Ark-like fashion.
Last weekend was one of the greatest regular season weekends in college football we've seen in decades. Four of the top six ranked teams went down. There were Hail Marys. There were huge comebacks. There were major upsets. And as it stands, about 16 FBS teams have a legitimate claim to be among those in the Final Four, and that number might not get a whole lot smaller in the next month.
Why four? What's the point? Why not eight? Why not ten (Everyone loves Wildcards, right?).
I'm here to tell you, sometimes more isn't better. If this were still the BCS era, exactly 8 teams would still have a legitimate claim to being in the running for a BCS Championship Game berth: Florida State (5-0), Auburn (5-0), Mississippi State (5-0), Ole Miss (5-0), Baylor (5-0), Notre Dame (5-0), Alabama (4-1), and Michigan State (4-1).
Eight teams with several that face the possibility of bowing out (Florida State plays Notre Dame, Mississippi State plays Auburn and Ole Miss, and the SEC Championship would likely knock another team out).
What we have now is chaos. With a four-team playoff, literally everyone has a shot. Georgia Tech (5-0), Utah (4-1), and East Carolina (4-1) can all say they are still alive. This is not what college football is supposed to be.
College football is not the Big Dance, where nearly everyone is invited. College football is supposed to be about the best of the best. And whether it's a group of media members, coaches, or a computer program that irons it out, it should be a truly elite covenant.
If you want a playoff system with a "Chip and a Chair" mentality, go watch the NHL or March Madness. I want a playoff system where a loss on Oct. 4 could cost you everything.
College football had a great playoff with the BCS. Sure, there was whining and protesting among the great teams that found themselves on the outside looking in, but no one would take issue with who was crowned as National Champion from 1998-2013.
The question of "Who's In?" as ESPN touts should not be a heck of a lot more rhetorical than it is now--it shouldn't be posed to any middle-of-the-pack squad that happens to find themselves with 1 loss in mid-October. Even in today's parody-filled era of coast-to-coast talent in college football, true fans have a clear understanding that a 4-1 Alabama team still has an argument that it is one of the two best teams in the country, while a 5-0 Arizona team does not.
Sometimes less is more. And I'm telling you, this 4-team playoff will go nowhere in establishing "fairness." Things will be so chaotic come December that Congress will step in and determine that the only solution is to establish a 16-team bracket.
And college football as we knew it will be gone forever.
Jason Iacovino can be heard Tuesdays and Fridays on KRFO-AM 1390 at 3:50 p.m. Leave a comment below and follow him on Twitter @JasonIacovino.