Time for BCS Playoff

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Sports

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Barack Obama is doing a fine job preparing for his presidency, but one move stands above the rest in terms of its clarity and commonsense appeal. Obama is right to support a BCS playoff for college football.

Now, you might think I support Obama on this matter merely because I’m a Texan and Texas is getting screwed in the BCS this year. Not so. You hardly have to be a Texan to see the profound injustice being perpetrated by the fraud that is the collegiate football championship. Seriously, if we ran our elections like the BCS runs football, we would have had Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani facing off in the November election.

But let me move past the clear and unquestionable insanity of a system that considers a team that lost 45-35 on a neutral field superior to the team which beat it. I understand the complexity when you factor in Texas’ last-second loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock and Oklahoma’s at home victory over the same Tech team. Obviously, small minds can easily be confused by the situation. That explains the fallibility of the human polls. The computer polls, of course, fail merely because they are computers and are more concerned with bringing on a Terminator-like future than they are with accurately interpreting the results of college football games (and, yes, any computer that ranks Oklahoma over Texas is clearly seeking the annihilation of truth and justice).

There is only one solution. An eight team playoff. Don’t tell me it would be too hard to coordinate. Div. II and Div. III NCAA football manage such a system. And don’t whine about all those Bowls that will lose money. The lesser Bowls can still host contests between teams which fail to make the playoffs while the major Bowls can serve as playoff sites. It’s really not that hard. And such a system would allow Texas to prove, once again, its superiority over Oklahoma. On the field. Where questions of “who’s better” are best decided.

So, clearly, it’s time for a playoff system. Isn’t that change we can all believe in?


This entry was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008 and is filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Time for BCS Playoff”

  1. rob Says:

    I would be willing to go to 16 teams.

  2. Doug Mataconis Says:

    Whatever happened to the fact that these are college students playing a game while they go to school ?

    In the long run, does it really matter if the “national champion” of college football is decided by a computer or a playoff ?

    I’m a much bigger fan of the college game than the overhyped NFL, but I can’t see any reason to get excited one way or the other about this.

  3. mw Says:

    I’m with Doug. If we don’t have the BCS to kick around, what will we have to talk about this time of year?

  4. Ed Says:

    I agree on the need for a playoff, but it should be 16 teams otherwise the big traditional powers will still steal the spots from other more deserving teams.

    Say there was an 8 team playoff this year. We’d be arguing about Boise State and Ball State (and possibly Utah) not getting bids despite being undefeated. It’s already a crime that Ohio State will go to a BCS bowl over Boise St.

    The argument against having a playoff (the extension of the season), is not really an issue any longer, since the major bowls stopped playing on New Years Day, and they added the national championship game. A system that uses the major bowls as the playoff games and adds two more games and one more week for the semifinals and final is very doable.

  5. Mike Says:

    Texas is getting screwed

    As a Cal fan who watched helplessly as Texas cheated its way into the Rose Bowl by lobbying the poll voters, all I can say is:

    Good.

  6. Gaucho Politico Says:

    I agree that we need a playoff. As for whatever happened to the idea that these are students first…money. lots and lots of money and reputation and tv time.

  7. kranky kritter Says:

    Even a four team playoff would be a vast improvement, IMO. Most folks seem to like the number 8. I think 16 is too many for the simple fact that it would take 4 weeks to complete, which would inevitably eat into the regular season, cosmetic bowls, and conference championships.

    In picking the number of teams, you have to look at scheduling. The final college championship game schedules nicely into the slot created by the pros’ 2-week pre-super bowl layoff.

    Weekends prior to that the NFL plays playoff games on saturday and sunday, because the colleges are traditionally finished. Except for the NFL conference championship weekend, when both games are on sunday. The day before is open for college to have their semi-finals. Notice that this would create a weekend of quite possibly the 4 best high-stakes football games of the year.

    Then the college quarterfinals could be on New Year’s day, which is a traditional big football day. That would give 4 high-interest games on New Years day.

    But to go back further would eat into December, which is a busy time for everyone, and it might even push out all the beauty pageant bowl games unless they became the sweet 16 hosts. This extra round just seems like too much to me. especially given that with 16 teams you are starting to get into the tier of teams that really aren’t at the same level as top teams. You’ve got to figure that half of these games would be blowouts.

  8. wj Says:

    Why bother with the entire BCS at all? Not only do we not “need” a playoff, I don’t see that we need some kind of “official” national collegiate championship.

    Let’s take Doug’s point a bit further. Simply revert to having whatever bowl games there are be inter-conference — Rose Bowl always between Pac 10 and Big 10 champions, etc. Who knows, some of these student athletes might end up devoting a little more time to being students, rather than de facto pro (albeit poorly paid) athletes.

  9. dan Says:

    I remember when Texas “cheated” its way into a BCS bowl. They beat michigan in the Rose Bowl, while cal got beat IN CALIFORNIA by 2 touchdowns by texas tech (which Texas beat by 30). Cal didn’t deserve that Rose Bowl. That is why they haven’t been to it since 1959 and haven’t won since 1938.

    As far as playoffs go, a 12 team system would be awesome. The top 4 get a bye, so there is always something to play for at the end of the year. And I dont believe that there has ever been an undefeated mid level conference team outside of the top 12 of the BCS after week 14/15.

  10. Cy Says:

    16 team playoff, winners of the 6 major conferences AND the 5 non-bcs conferences are all guaranteed spots. 5 at-large bids.

    In addition, institute a ‘relegation’ system like the English Premier League uses — 5 out of 6 last-place finishers in the ‘big’ conferences get put into a little conferences (goodbye, Indiana, Duke, Iowa State, Syracuse, and Washington!) and all 5 non-BCS conference champions get to follow up their tournament appearance with a spot in a BCS conference the next year (hello, Ball State, East Carolina, Utah, Boise State and Troy!).

    It would be AWESOME.

  11. Runciter Says:

    If a playoff is ever accepted (which I do agree it should be), it won’t happen in the next decade. The members of the BCS will not allow it.

    The best chance of adding even a bit of fairness back into the game will be the Plus One option, where the Bowl games act as a loose semifinal.

    The problem with the OU/Texas situation is with the tie-breaker rules of the Big XII. If they change their rules closer to the something like the SEC (use the BCS to drop the lowest in a three way tie, and then use a head to head), then right team, Texas, gets into the NC.

    ps. I am a Sooner fan and I feel for the Longhorns, but I can’t say I am all that sad ; )

  12. kranky kritter Says:

    Why bother with the entire BCS at all? Not only do we not “need” a playoff, I don’t see that we need some kind of “official” national collegiate championship..

    C’mon, now, what’s need got to do with it? I think it’s pretty clear that any debate among sports fans about the issue operates on the assumption that the discussion is about what the fans/consumers of college football would like the product to deliver. So it strikes me as a reasonable presumption that the people who support the enterprise have some claim to a right to shape it. The crowning of a legitimate champion is pretty close to the essence of modern sport.

    Let’s take Doug’s point a bit further. Simply revert to having whatever bowl games there are be inter-conference — Rose Bowl always between Pac 10 and Big 10 champions, etc. Who knows, some of these student athletes might end up devoting a little more time to being students, rather than de facto pro (albeit poorly paid) athletes.

    The first word I think of to describe this argument is “quaint.” And to be sure, college football banks a lot on legacy nostalgia, phony though it may be. If you truly think its important to change the priorities of the so-called “student athletes” of big-time programs so that being a student come first, you can make a splendid case based upon the true purpose of post-secondary education. But if such folks really want that kind of reform, they need to enact reforms FAR more substantial than rolling back the clock on postseason college football.

  13. Texan Says:

    Cal fans that continue to cry about the fact that the Longhorns got to go the Rose Bowl in 2005 seem to forget that Cal got its ass handed to it in the Holiday Bowl that same year by Texas Tech. Put up or shut up Cal. You can’t lay a turd in your next game and continue to cry foul years later. And now you suck….stuck in the middle of the lowly PAC-10 with your fans surfing all over the internet bitching about getting slighted three years ago. Go back to academics…it’s all that you’re really worth a shit at.

    Oh, and anyone who tries to make an argument against a playoff at this point is a moron. How many times does the BCS need to implode before someone stops this nonsense? This isn’t gymnastics or diving. We can play the games on a neutral site and determine the better team. It’s only a matter of time before fairness prevails. Until then, there will be many many more frustrated players/coaches/fans who get screwed by the current system.

  14. Jason Says:

    We either need a playoff or remove automatic bids from the BCS. Who wants to watch Va Tech, Cincy, or Utah play? Texas Tech is better than all three. I also believe they (and several others) are better than Bama. I am an ‘SC alum and I would have loved to see our D against Texas, OK, Florida or Texas Tech. As a Raider fan (I know, I know) I remeber very clearly their #2 offense against the #1 D in TB. Who cares if you score 50 and give up 30! Lets see you do it against a team that only gives up 7! A playoff and a non-automatic system would have allowed this. Let the BCS/Coaches/AP match the best teams.

  15. Ian Jones Says:

    I agree- a play off seems like a much fairer system. It’s definitely important to avoid a big team monopoly as this will only encourage the game to become predictable. From a spectator point of view, its always preferable to watch a more open competition and a play off system would certainly encourage this. Texan, your right that the current system is frustrating for all those involved in the sport and breeding frustration is surely not productive. I believe that a better relationship between coaches, players and officials needs to be fostered in order to ensure the continued success of the game.

  16. Ryan Jones Says:

    Is this like the movie Invictus inspired by Nelson Mandela?

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