NCAA Tournament Proves That BCS System Needs Overhaul to Level Championship Playing Field


NCAA Tournament Proves That BCS System Needs Overhaul to Level Championship Playing Field With the Final Four upon us, March Madness comes to a close effective April 4.

Having said that, the real "madness" that is college football and its ranking system takes center stage, as teams across the nation prepare for the upcoming season.

VCU, Butler, Kentucky and Connecticut are all that remain of the field of 68 teams that began the NCAA tournament. Of these teams, only Connecticut and Kentucky were ranked in the AP Top 25, at No.9 and No. 11, respectively.

Butler appeared in the Top 25 poll early on, largely due to its unlikely run to the Final Four last year, and VCU never cracked the Top 25, or came anywhere near it, for that matter.

VCU was actually a bubble team that acquired one of the at-large bids for a play-in game, a new feature to the NCAA tournament to give even more of an opportunity to similarly ranked teams. The Rams beat USC as a part of the First Four, and the rest is history.

Conversely, in college football, there was no play-in game for "lesser" teams like TCU, which was given the third-overall rank, according to BCS rankings.

As this year's tournament unfolded, the "elite" teams slowly started to lose. First Pittsburgh ousted itself on a boneheaded foul, then Duke and Ohio State lost in the Sweet 16. VCU then promptly shocked the world by dispatching Kansas from the Elite Eight, leaving precisely zero No. 1 seeds left in the Big  Dance.

But who would be the clear-cut national champion if all the teams that were "supposed" to win, lost?

The best team, that's who. The tournament is designed with upsets like these in mind, giving a chance for all the other teams remaining to prove that they're the best.

The NCAA tournament is an equal-opportunity employer, while the BCS decides the winner based on statistical anomalies and computer-generated numbers.  

TCU had a memorable season, largely in part to its defense which was the best in the country, and held teams to a paltry 12 points per game. TCU ranked second in both the final AP and USA Today polls, joining top-ranked Auburn as the only undefeated teams, yet due to the BCS ranking system, defaulted to third place and out of championship contention.

Had the confusing BCS rankings not played a factor, the two undefeated teams would have met for a meaningful game to crown the national champion. Instead, we watched Auburn vs. Option B.

Other one-loss "Option B" teams included Stanford, Ohio State, Nevada and Boise State. Boise finished painstakingly close to an undefeated season, losing the game on a botched field goal, dropping the Broncos to 10th overall in the BCS rankings.

This past season isn't the first example of the BCS giving the country an arbitrary championship game. In 2009, there were five undefeated teams with no clear winner, as Boise State, Texas, Alabama, TCU and Cincinnati all finished with immaculate records.

Mark Ingram's Alabama Crimson Tide faced Colt McCoy's Texas Longhorns for the title game, while the other three teams were hung out to dry.

Utah and Boise State faced a similar fate in 2008, finishing the season 12-0, yet the championship went to Florida (12-1), led by Tim Tebow, who defeated Sam Bradford's 12-1 Oklahoma Sooners.

Maybe it's the big names or the big conferences that allow these matchups, but one thing is certain, the BCS does not come up with a clear national champion.

Comparing football and basketball may seem like the consummate apples and oranges debate, but clearly, with such small degrees of separation between such elite teams, college football should take notes from the sport with an orange ball, and adopt a better, meaningful playoff system and stop giving the fans computer generated images of "national champions."

Do you think that college football should change their current postseason format? Leave your comments below.

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