07/31/09 — Opinion -- BCS needs re-evaluating

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Opinion -- BCS needs re-evaluating

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 31, 2009 1:46 PM

All this recent BCS talk is giving John Swofford a headache. So, who can the blame the BCS commissioner for buying stock in Aleve?

Nearly 10 years ago, the BCS was created to assure the top two teams would play for the national championship. The intention was to correct a major flaw in the bowl system and enhance the traditional bowl system that's almost a century old.

The BCS is supposed to be college football's showcase event.


The system relies on computer rankings and human polls, which we all know have their own flaws. Even President Obama has expressed his opinion and sought changes to the BCS.

Do the top two teams really play for national supremacy? Ask either Utah, Auburn or Alabama and representatives from all three schools will answer with an emphatic "no."

The BCS has turned into a popularity contest and the traditionally elite programs always seem to benefit. Wins and losses factor in, but what's missing is the overall picture. Year in and out, parody plays a role in every major conference in the country in every sport. The BCS takes league play into consideration, but if you're competing against weaker opponents on Saturdays, you're in trouble and your BCS stock slowly declines.

Teams from 10 conferences and independent Notre Dame currently vie for five BCS bowls. Conference champions qualify for the BCS, but just two teams play for the crystal football.

Why can't the BCS follow the same format as the FCS, Division II and Division III playoffs? A three- or four-week postseason is used to determine the national champion on those levels. Those teams end up playing 14 or more games whereas the BCS teams finish with 12 or 13 contested games depending on the length of their season.

What's the harm in creating a playoff system involving the 10 conference champions, an independent champion and an at-large team? You seed the 12 teams on their overall record, head-to-head matchups and other criteria. The top four teams receive byes and the highest-remaining seed gets the home game each week.

The independents would be Notre Dame, the three service academies and any other institution that isn't affiliated with a BCS conference. Overall record, head-to-head matchups and/or a points system would determine the independent and at-large representatives.

You'd need four weeks of knockout play to determine ONE overall champion. Under the current bowl system, any team that qualifies for the postseason receives a two-week to month-long break before it plays again. The extended layoff causes teams to lose their timing and other distractions factor in, also.

When developing a playoff system, there are undoubtedly many intangibles to consider -- semester exams, adjusting the bowl tie-ins, payouts, travel, etc.

However, look at how much the fans from the FCS, Division II and Division III schools remain in a frenzy week to week. You don't see that in the BCS because most fans don't have the funds to travel. But hold a playoff game in your home stadium and you're certain to fill almost every seat. Plus, you generate that almighty dollar which lines the NCAA's pocket.

It's time to re-evaluate the BCS and correct its flaws.

And it's time to develop a playoff system that's fair to all.