Monday, November 26, 2007

The BCS 60% of the time... works every time.

That doesn't make any sense. And neither does the BCS. In NCAA football the now 9 year old cure for the common split title is the equivalent of Sex Panther. It reeks and needs to be stripped down, cleaned, and possibly burned. I'm not saying we need to institute a 64 team playoff or even 16 teams but something needs to change.

Let's look at the last (almost) decade of college football and the glory that the BCS has bestowed upon us, and I'm not just talking about the BCS title game:

1998/99 season: #3 Kansas State is passed over for a BCS game (11-1 regular season record) for #'s 4 and 8, Ohio State (10-1 regular season record) and Florida (9-2 regular season record).
The number 3 team in the land and they don't even go to a BCS game, I'm not even talking the Nat'l Championship here, but how does this work? Oh and C-USA champion, undefeated #7 Tulane did not go to a BCS bowl game either, and they beat 3 Big East teams (a BCS Conference), did I mention they were undefeated.

2000/01 season: FSU, Miami, and Washington all had a valid reason to expect to play undefeated Oklahoma in the Nat'l Championship game. They were all 1 loss teams and the kicker? FSU lost to Miami (#2 in both human polls) who lost to Washington (#7) who lost to 2 loss Oregon. How was FSU able to leapfrog the team that was ahead of them in the polls and that they had lost to? the BCS at its' finest.

2001/02 season: 1 loss Nebraska (#2 in BCS, #4 in both Human polls) selected to play in the Nat'l Championship despite not winning their division or conference championships. Meanwhile, 1 loss Oregon (#2 in both Human polls, #4 in BCS) beat Colorado by 22 points (the same Colorado who beat Nebraska by 36) and Nebraska fell to Miami 37-14.

2003/04 season: At season end there were 0 teams undefeated and 6 teams with 1 loss. Oklahoma, Louisiana State, and Southern Cal in the major conferences, and Miami (OH), Boise St., and TCU also stood with 1 loss. USC was #1 in the AP and Coaches Poll but had a "weak schedule" according to the computers, and though Oklahoma lost to KState in the Big XII Championship they were #1 in the BCS but #3 in the Human poll and LSU was #2 in both. LSU upset "#1" Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl earning the Nat'l Championship, BUT the Human polls still thought that USC should have been in that game (seeing as how they had SC ranked #1 before the game anyways) and in a lopsided vote gave USC the #1 ranking at the end of the season and LSU the #2 ranking giving us the first split championship in the BCS which had promised...No Split Championships. To further confuse things, in the Coaches poll, LSU did not get unanimous #1 votes, though the coaches are Contractually Obliged to do so. 3 votes went to USC to show that they thought USC was the best team in the country and the there were a few coaches who were not recognizing the BCS as a legitimate answer to the championship problem.

2004/05 season: 5 undefeated teams ended the regular season, #1 USC, #2 Oklahoma, #3 Auburn, #5 Utah, and a surprising #10 Boise State team. Auburn was undefeated in tough SEC play. Really, Boise State and Utah had less convincing regular seasons but were nonetheless without a loss and deserved a shot at the title as much as the 3 other undefeated teams. And with Bowl wins by Utah and Auburn USC, Auburn, and Utah all ended the 2004/05 season without a loss, but there was only one Nat'l Champion and only 2 teams that had a shot.

2006/07 season: Undefeated Boise State, 1 loss Louisville, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida all worthy choices to play undefeated #1 Ohio State in the BCS Championship game. Human polls had Florida higher than Michigan (perhaps because Michigan had lost in the Big 11 finale vs Ohio State), Computer polls had Michigan and Florida tied for #2 spot. After all was said and done Florida upset #1 Ohio State convincingly, and Boise State upset Oklahoma leaving a mess at the end of the season. Ohio State, Florida, Louisville and Wisconsin all had 1 loss, and lowly Boise State was undefeated, without even a chance to play Florida. Florida received all but one 1st place vote at the end of the season, with the one remaining vote going to Boise State. .

That's a lot of information. In Summation, there is something seriously wrong with the BCS and the "quality wins" and "strength of schedule" and everything else that goes into it. Hawai'i is undefeated right now and might not even get into a BCS game let alone having a chance at the Nat'l Championship. Meanwhile in the BCS rankings there are 4 1 loss teams in front of them 6 2 loss teams and a 3 loss Florida. #11 Boston College lost to unranked Maryland and Florida State, #10 Florida lost to Georgia, LSU, and Auburn in the way overrated SEC, #9 Oklahoma lost to unranked Colorado and unranked Texas Tech, USC lost to Oregon and unranked Stanford, LSU lost to Kentucky, barely beat an unranked Auburn, and lost to an unranked Arkansas (not to mention their coach doesn't even want to be there anymore), #6 VT lost to BC and LSU (who were both #2 at the time and both have 2 losses since then), #5 Kansas lost in their only tough game of the season thus far to Mizzou (beating teams with names like Central, South Eastern, International, and Toledo don't really count for too much, especially for a BCS division team), #4 Georgia's losses are to unranked S Carolina and Tennessee, #3 Ohio State dropped one at home to previously unranked Illinois, #2 W Virginia couldn't get past South Florida who since starting 6-0 is 3-3 with wins over Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and #1 Mizzou on the capable Heisman winning arm of Chase Daniel lost to an average Oklahoma team as discussed earlier. Now Hawai'i doesn't have a whole lot of quality wins but did beat a ranked Boise State team this past weekend. In fact their schedule looks awfully similar/similarly awful, compared to #5 Kansas. This season more than any other should prove that there needs to be a playoff.

One idea is 16 teams. Each of the 11 major conferences sends their champion with 5 other at large bids for the independents and high ranked other teams. There could be stipulations that if the minor conferences (C-USA, MAC, MWC, WAC, and Sun Belt) don't field a top 25 team, their playoff spot would be given to one of the other top teams instead. Based on the ranking playoff games would be set as one would expect 16 vs 1 and so one. It could even be scaled down to 14 teams or 12 teams and allow for byes and follow a typical bracket set-up. This way teams like Hawai'i or last years Boise State squad can prove that they deserve a shot or that the voters/computers are right in rating them where they are. Yes this, or something like it, has been suggested and the bowl tradition would be ruined and there would be less impact of a loss in the regular season, and universities would lose money. This just goes to show that there isn't a perfect solution here. I said earlier that a playoff is not necessarily the answer, and it's true but I can't think of a better one at this point. A playoff would make the BCS and other voting and ranking obsolete, who cares you can play these playoff games at neutral sites and call them bowl games, and can even award a trophy if you want. Something needs to change.

Am I saying Hawai'i is the best team in the land, no. Am I suggesting they deserve a chance to prove everyone wrong and that they very well might be the best team in the land, absolutely. So did Utah and Auburn a few years ago, and a USC vs LSU would have been nice to watch in '03.

A playoff would once and for all end all post season speculation, vote changes, and there would never be a split championship.

Wait, wasn't that what the BCS promised not too long ago?