The Commerce Journal

Opinion

January 12, 2012

BCS bowl system has become unfortunate joke

Any playoff system would be improvement, columnist writes

Commerce — The BCS National Championship Game that took place Monday night was, first of all, boring. LSU and Alabama are great teams, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It’s hard to argue that they’re not the top two teams in the nation. But watching the top two teams engage in a defensive slugfest produced far more yawns than cheers.

But what can you do? Clearly, LSU and Alabama were the top two teams, regardless of how you broke it down.  Well, a playoff might help.

The inability of college football conferences to accept the inevitability of a playoff system is the most shortsighted decision in collegiate athletics history.

Immediately when you bring up a college football playoffs, the cons of such a system are brought up. It would make the season too long, determining which four or eight or 16 teams enter the playoffs would be too controversial, the conferences would never agree, it would take away from the Bowl system which has characterized post-season college football for decades, etc.

All of these arguments are, in the end, inconsequential. If teams are worried about college players’ endurance, they could stop playing guarantee games against Division IA and Division II opponents. Already, some teams play up to 14 games while others play 10 or 11 because of their early schedule and conference championship games. In an eight team playoff system, players would be in three post-season games at the most, only two more than the current one game post-season system.

The Bowl system is already broken. Any nostalgia or history associated with it disappeared when the conferences allowed the GoDaddy.com Bowl to happen. There are more than 30 bowls now, which means that roughly as many teams play in the college football post-season as do in the college basketball playoffs. The days of the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl are over.

If the conferences can’t let the bowls go, simply use the bowl games as the semi-final and final games.

As far as determining who the top eight teams are, use the BCS system. After all, the BCS does a decent job of getting the top 25 teams right, so use the system to get the top teams in order and then let them play. Even with a simple plus one system, where the winners of the top two bowls play against each other, would make the playoffs more interesting.

A playoff system wouldn’t ensure that we wouldn’t see anymore boring postseason games, but it would mean that we would see more meaningful and more exciting games. The idea that the conferences, teams and businesses involved in the bowl process wouldn’t make as much or more money is ridiculous. Just look at the money-making machine that is March Madness.

Ignoring a bowl system. Now that is madness.

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