Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bowl Championship Series

Where to start? There are so many things about the BCS that I hate that it is hard to figure out where to start. Actually starting is easy, it's doing so in a coherent manner that is hard.

The BCS was started in 1999 under the fiction of being able to make sure that the two best teams in the country play for the national championship. However what they didn't take into account is that choosing which two teams are the best in the country is usually not very cut and dried. In the past the National Champion, or champions were selected by polls. Which like all things so subjectively judged turns into a popularity contest. This system put Division 1 College Football in the same bracket as gymnastics and figure skating. Your ability to win a championship was dependant solely on other peoples opinions of your performance.

The biggest problem with the BCS is that they did nothing to change this. The rankings are still bases on polls, or other peoples opinions on how good a team is.

Now it seems like it would be a simple thing to just put in a playoff system for Division 1 college football. But it is not. That is because there is too much money involved in the current system. The college presidents who would have to approve a palyoff system would have to face up to and deal with the loss of millions of dollars of bowl money every year.

The 2006 Bowl Championship Series Revenue Distribution is budgeted at $96,160,000.00.


Conference with one team in Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowl: $18,322,222
Conference with two teams in Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowl: $22,822,222
Conference with one team in Rose Bowl: $3,455,556
Conference with one team in Rose Bowl and one team in Other BCS Bowls: $ 7,955,556
Total: $89,200,000

Conference USA: $1,050,000
Mid-American: $1,050,000
Mountain West: $1,050,000
Western Athletic: $1,050,000
Sun Belt: $960,000
Total: $5,160,000

Atlantic 10: $225,000
Big Sky: $225,000
Gateway: $225,000
Mid-Eastern: $225,000
Ohio Valley: $225,000
Southland: $225,000
Southern: $225,000
Southwestern Athletic: $225,000
Total: $1,800,000

That is a lot of incentive for the founding members of the BCS to not to want a playoff system.

As long as the BCS is in charge, or the bowl games are involved in the national championship system Division 1 will never have a definative national Champion. Until the championship is decided on the field there will always be arguement and disagreement about who should have played.

The other major problem with the BCS and the bowl game system is that the entire system is designed to make sure that the big six conferences which have all the money to start with get to keep getting all the money. Each conference is assured of a spot in a BCS bowl game. The other conferences are told that they have a shot at one of the at large BCS spots. But in order for that to happen a team from that conference has to go undefeated for the season. They also have to hope that not too many other schools go undefeated. Just ask Boise State who in 2004 finished the season 11-0 and played in the Liberty bowl instead of a BCS bowl. This slight was probably caused because Utah was also 11-0 and they managed to get one of the two at large BCS bids. The big six conferences certainly weren't going to give up two of their money spots in one year.

Lastly the BCS system that assures that the 6 founding conference champions play in the BCS games often puts inferior teams into the big bowl games while higher ranked teams with better records play in the smaller bowls. A prime example was last night's Orange Bowl. Florida State went into the bowl game ranked #22 with a 8-4 record while 13 other schools who were ranked above them in the BCS rankings and had better records played in smaller bowls.

Now I like thed the Joe Paterno - Bobby Bowden match up last night. But I still don't think Florida State deserved to be in that bowl game.

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