The BCS: Its Playoff Time! by Brad Lorkovic The BCS. Around college football circles, this is better known as the Bowl Championship Series. In short, it is the Super Bowl of college football if you will. To go into more detail however, it is a computer analysis program that has been around since 1992 that takes into account every possible factor involved in a team and how they perform during the season. It takes in everything from who a team plays, their rank, who was the home team, how much they won by, and even consists of the other major poll rankings rated by coaches and AP writers (Bowl Championship Series FAQs). What this is supposed to do is create a solid and undisputable way to crown the best D1 college football team in the nation. Its job is to eliminate the controversy that can surround college football and that sometimes leads to multiple teams splitting the national championship. However, it has failed to do its job the past years, especially with the controversy of the 2001, 2003, and 2004 seasons. What the BCS has really done is create more controversy in college football than there ever has been, which is why many people are now against it and feel a change is in order. The main argument against the BCS is that the system is very flawed and often invites in more controversy than it would like. A prime example of the controversy the BSC creates would be the debate over the 2001 college football season. After dominating all their opponents all season long, the number two ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers faced the number 14 ranked team in the nation in the last regular season game. Nebraska was expected to beat Colorado, win the Big 12 Championship, and go to the national championship. However, Nebraska got blown out 36-62 while Colorado went on to beat the number three seed Texas in the Big 12 Championship, earning them and automatic BCS bid. After beating both these high profile teams and having one of the best records in college football, youd imagine that theyd be ranked better than Nebraska and Texas, and would earn a trip to the national championship. However, the BCS ended up having Nebraska ranked higher than Colorado by exactly .05 points, earning Nebraska a bid to the national championship 2 weeks after losing horribly to the team they were ranked fractionally better than (BCS 2001-2002 Final Standings). The biggest problem with this however is that nothing could be done and Colorado was forced to take their bowl bid and could do nothing about it. This obvious mess up is what has people fussing at the BCS. Another big reason against the BCS system is that it cant solve certain situations that need clarity. For example, in 2004 three teams (Oklahoma, USC, and Auburn) ended the regular season being undefeated. All teams were in major conferences, had no close losses, and were very comparable in terms of talent. However, with no system in place to where the three could play for the Title, the BCS system was forced to choose which two teams it thought were the two best candidates for the Title game. Auburn ended up being the odd man out in this case, but the results of their respective bowl games leave many questions left unanswered. Auburn ended up beating their opponent 13 16, but what really surprised people and made them think that Auburn was more deserving was when USC beat Oklahoma 55 19. While it is impossible to know just exactly how Auburn wouldve matched up against USC, its just too easy for fans to say that the BSC chose the wrong team. There are too many what ifs that will never get answered. While most people feel that the BCS should be changed, there are a few reasons that have people worried to bring about change. For one, people feel that if the BCS was extended or made the college football season any longer than it was, then it would put the student athletes at a bigger risk to get injured. Most of these athletes are at college to get a good education rather than play football. This has a negative effect when these injuries affect school work and can have lingering affects on the athletes which most people dont want. Another reason why some people would like to keep the BCS in place is because of the revenue sharing and advertisement rates the current BCS games carry. Some argue that because the 4 BCS games at the end of the season carry such high rates and bring in such high amounts of revenue is because there are only 4 of them. Many feel that adding more or taking out games would bring a decrease in revenue. In other words, many feel that the BCS is at a maximum in terms of revenue right now and the rate would decrease with an increase in college football games. While these are solid arguments to keep the BCS, the arguments to dismantle the BCS are far greater. Because people fear changing the BCS will affect injuries, a study was done at North Carolina University to further understand the chance of an injury in additional games. What it discovered was that there is a .67 percent chance every year that there will be an injury with incomplete neurological recovery (Mueller). With 117 teams playing at least 10 games a season (totaling over 1200 games per season), the addition of a few additional games would have almost no effect in terms of injures. Also, college football keeps adding more bowl games every year so would it really be that huge of a deal? While some also feel that the BCS is at a point of maximum revenue as of now, but college football is the only major sport (pro or collegiate) without a playoff system in place. Because of this, the 2005 BCS championship game in which USC defeated OU in a landslide victory, only drew 13.7 percent of households to watch (Hiestand). About a month later, the Super Bowl drew a 42.1 percent rating (Mahan). This is almost a 30 percent jump between the same sport at different levels. While some of this is because of interest, it is obvious that the playoff system is a fan favorite when it comes to football. Therefore, its hard to say the BCS is bringing in as much money as possible. Because the BCS causes more controversy and disagreement than it was originally intended to, I propose a beneficial solution that both sides could agree on. I propose an eight team, single elimination playoff tournament to take place during the middle of the regular bowl games. It should begin the week after Christmas and would end 3 weeks later. This way, teams would have enough time to rest up, but wouldnt be too far away from the game for an extended period of time. Its almost a month between the BCS games and the end of the regular season, which throws some teams off. The top eight teams would be determined by the BCS formula which is how they do it now. To break it down further, the major 6 conferences in college football (Big 12, Big 10, ACC, SEC, Big East, and Pac 10) with two at large bids to outside teams. Then based on their respective rankings from one to eight, they get paired up. The fist game would put the first ranked team facing the eight ranked, the second game would put the fourth ranked team facing the fifth, the third game would put the third best team facing the sixth, and the fourth game would put the second best team facing the seventh. Then, the winner of game one would play the winner of game two, and the winner of game three would play the winner of game four. Finally, the winner of these two games would face each other in the championship which would determine the winner for the year. The greatest part of the playoff system is the uncertainty and improbability that comes with it. Because no team is guaranteed to make the championship game and can be eliminated at any moment, it will cause a new form of excitement and buzz around college football. This will help keep the entertainment of college football up and should offer a new and fair way to decide the close decisions. No matter what happens in college football, their will always be controversy over something. If the playoff system happens to get established, Im sure people will complain about how the ninth ranked team got cheated out of a chance. However, whats worse: complaining about how the third ranked team doesnt get a chance to do anything about it or how the number nine team was deserving of a chance? What do we have to lose other than more controversy? WORK CITED Hiestand, Michael. "Ratings fall as USC's rout increases." USA Today 06 Jan 2005. 07 Apr 2006 <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/bowls/2005-01-05-orange-bowl-tv-ratings_x.htm> Mahan, Colin. "Super Bowl ratings gain some ground." TV.com. 06 Feb. 2006. 07 Apr. 2006 <http://www.tv.com/story/story.html&story_id=3148>. Mueller, Dr. Frederick O. "Annual Survey Of Catastrophic Foobtall Injuries." National Center for Catastrophic (). 07 Apr 2006 <http://www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/CataFootballInjuries.htm>. US Congress. "Determining A Champion On The Field: A Comprehensive Review Of The BCS and Postseason College Football."U.S. Government Printing Office. 109th Cogress, First Session. 2005. "Bowl Championship Series FAQs." Bowl Championship Series. 29 Mar. 2006 <http://www.bcsfootball.org/index2.cfm?page=faq>. "Past Division I-A Football National Champions." Naional Collegiate Athletic Association. 30 Mar. 2006 <http://www.ncaa.org/champadmin/ia_football_past_champs.html>. "BCS 2001-2002 Final Standings." Bowl Championship Series. 30 Mar. 2006 <http://espn.go.com/abcsports/bcs/rankings_full/2001-2002.html>.