Division I NCAA football.
The BCS issued its second rankings of the 2010 season on Sunday, and the computers, coaches and sportswriters are once again at odds. Despite Oregon coming in at No. 1 in both the AP and USA Today polls, the BCS selected Auburn as its top team, just one day after their victory over a previously undefeated LSU.
But what if no outside opinions or rankings matter? What if college football teams were allowed to determine their own fate on the field?
It’s hardly a revolutionary solution, but it’s one that becomes a more obvious necessity with every passing season.
The BCS has drawn the ire of everyone from college football fans, to head coaches and players, to Barack Obama in recent years. People don’t understand the complex system of rankings and formulas that go into the BCS standings, and want to see the best teams get a shot at winning the NCAA title.
There’s no hard evidence that the BCS prevents that scenario, and several arguments for the BCS are compelling. As the BCS' website proudly states, "the top two teams have played each other 12 times in 12 years by BCS measurements and nine times in the last 12 according to the AP poll — including the last six years in a row."
Many proponents of the BCS will also argue that the rankings give every regular season game a life-or-death atmosphere, as one loss can completely derail any title contender’s season.
Plus, it’s hard to deny that the BCS makes a ton of money for a lot of different schools. Purists won’t like that point, but at the end of the day, college football is also a business.
But think of all the timeless playoff stories that college football misses out on due to the BCS. Remember the George Mason basketball team making it to the Final Four in 2006? How about the sixth-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers winning Super Bowl XL? Or maybe the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who needed 163 games just to make it to the playoffs before eventually representing the National League in the World Series.
The BCS system robs college football teams of this opportunity. We’ll never know if Boise State could have beaten Alabama in 2009. We’ll never know if LSU could have put up more of a fight against Florida than Ohio State did in 2006. And the odds are that this season, we’ll see another few teams – teams like Oregon, Auburn or Boise State yet again – be robbed of a much-deserved shot at the title.
The BCS system really isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. But it’s still not as good as a playoff system would be.
What do you think of the BCS system? Should college football have a playoff system? Share your thoughts below.