Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Comment · 12 January 2011

I rarely comment on sports, but I must admit that I enjoyed watching the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game between Auburn and Oregon. It was a battle between two powerhouses that lived up to its billing. Only the Texas Christian fans could argue that the best team won the title of National Champion. After all, they were undefeated just like Auburn.

I am not here to argue the notion that the BCS has one too many letters in its acronym nor to say that it is the best thing since sliced bread. It is what it is. A flawed system that usually does a decent job of presenting the country with a national champion in Division 1-A college football. I just think the fans, players, and coaches deserve a little more.

As I thought about the game and indeed, the season of college football, I wondered if there might be a way to have both a playoff system and preserve some of the tradition of the bowl games of old. After all, there is a Division 1-AA college football playoff system (Eastern Washington University won that championship this year), so why not let the division 1-A colleges have a playoff system as well?

Personally, I have never thought that there should be a playoff system. Not that I liked the poll system of old, but I just thought that there was too much tradition in the bowls to really have playoffs. Besides, adding a bunch of weeks to the season could be quite the strain. On players and fans alike. Then, I saw how many bowls there were this season. It seemed like hundreds. A bowl an hour or so. Some of the teams just had .500 seasons – enough to be “bowl eligible.” Others had great records. Three teams had perfect seasons going into the bowls. Two ended the season with perfect records. And even though most would agree that the national champ was indeed crowned, a playoff system might be the way to please everybody. If it was done right.

I came up with a crazy idea that maybe there is a way to have both a playoff system and the bowl games. Why not have a system like the NCAA basketball tournament where teams are seeded by their rankings and a committee? Thirty-two teams could play a five week tournament to determine the national champion. The thing is, all the tournament games could still be called bowl games. It could be a bowl playoff system.

The companies and organizations that currently sponsor bowl games could still call each playoff game a “bowl” game. The organizations that put up more dollars would get the later rounds. It could be a great combination of playoff and bowls. The Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta bowls could still rotate the national championship game like they currently do. They would also get the semifinal round, with either the fourth of those heavies taking a game in the quarterfinal round or having a consolation game for third and fourth place.

There are experts and pundits on each side of the playoff/BCS debate who call each other crazy when calling for either one system or the other. While I am neither, I still figured I would throw my two cents into the mix and suggest a system that combines the best (and possibly worst) of both worlds. I know it is a risk to propose such a preposterous idea, but I am sure my readers (both real and imaginary) will let me know what they think. I am sure it will be that they agree I am neither an expert nor pundit and should keep my nose out of sports commentary.

Like I already said, I am no expert. But I have finally come to the conclusion that it is time to have a system where there are not two undefeated Division 1-A teams at the end of the season. It is time to see a bowl playoff system where a team shows everybody, not just the experts and pundits, who is the best in college football. Where one team, undefeated or not, will be the undisputed champion.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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