It’s that time of year once again to slam the awful postseason system that continues to plague college football: the Bowl Championship Series. It’s funny, I have written one of these every year that this site has been in existence dating back to three seasons ago. First it started with my playoff solution to our current system (which I still think could work). Last season, I managed to put together two different posts about this laughable system. The first showed how the BCS could manipulate matchups to their liking as they pitted Boise State and TCU against each other instead of playing both against the “big boys”. The second showed how the college football postseason is filled with non-competitive games and how now 60% of all FBS teams earn the “special honor” to play in a bowl game.
And this year, yet again, the BCS has provided me with new examples of how this system is a pathetic joke to determine a champion.
Thanks to the BCS’ new bitch flagship network, ESPN, we have been beaten over the head repeatedly that every week matters. In the end, the only weeks that mattered were those played by Oregon and Auburn. Ok, I take that back, Boise State’s loss to Nevada mattered too, but only because it completely knocked them out of the BCS picture. Make no mistake though, had they stayed undefeated, there would be no way in hell they would’ve made the title game over Oregon or Auburn and had they even stayed undefeated, it likely would’ve meant that one non-AQ school would’ve been left in the cold.
This year, TCU is the shining example that the “every week matters” mantra is total bull. Before, we were all fed the load of crap that the non-AQ schools could never get into the title picture because of their preseason ranking. Along with that lie, we were told that if such a school were to be ranked high to start, an undefeated season would surely place them in the title picture. Coming into the 2010 season though, TCU had that high ranking, coming in at #7 in the coaches poll and #6 in the AP poll, yet somehow could only claw their way up to a #3 in the final BCS rankings.
If every week matters, then that must mean Oregon and Auburn were clearly ranked above TCU and held on; however, this is not the case. The teams initially ranked head of TCU were Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, Boise State, and Virginia Tech, all of whom lost at least one game this season. Oregon was able to leapfrog TCU to #2 starting at #11 in both polls, and Auburn was able to claim the #1 spot starting all the way down at #23 in the coaches and #22 in the AP poll.
Where does any of this make sense? TCU never lost, yet watched two teams move to the front over them.
Of course, the tired excuse of “strength of schedule” was pointed as the culprit for why TCU could never eclipse Oregon and Auburn in the rankings. Many figured that Wisconsin would expose this very fact during the Rose Bowl, yet they feel to TCU. To expand on this further, the BCS conferences, whom have the “better schedules” are preforming like total crap in the bowl games. Right now, the only BCS conference that has a winning record is the Big East (3-2), whom is considered to be weakest of all BCS conferences to begin with.
[EDIT 1/4/10: Danger of writing posts the day before…the Pac-10 has a record of 2-1 at the time I published this. This also includes a BCS win. This would be the only “strong” conference in my opinion to have winning bowl record thus far. Apologies for the oversight (unless you wish to count Utah’s loss in the Pac-10 column, which would make the Pac-10 2-2 and the MWC 4-0!]
The Mountain West Conference on the other hand, has outdone everyone, coming in at 4-1 in bowl play, including TCU’s Rose Bowl victory. And those other three wins weren’t all against non-AQ opponents either. Two of those wins were against BCS conference opponents: Wisconsin and Georgia Tech. Another one of those wins was against a Navy team that was 9-3 coming into the Poinsettia Bowl. The “worst” win was BYU’s lopsided victory over UTEP (C-USA). The only loss came against a non-AQ opponent: Boise State who still finished #10 in the final BCS rankings and defeated a Utah team that finished #19 in the final BCS standings.
Of course, then follows the circular argument that BCS conferences are playing better opponents and thus do not have as good of a record as the MWC. However, thus far the majority of bowl games have only been mediocrity against mediocrity and thus, I argue that the MWC has as much of an even playing field as any other BCS conference in bowl play.
In this wonderful system, TCU will finish 13-0 and hope that the AP has the balls to vote them #1 for a national title split instead of getting their justified shot at the winner of Oregon or Auburn. While BCS pundits and supporters will note how much TCU cares about their victory and how much it means to them are correct, it doesn’t hide the fact that they still got screwed over. TCU is happy with the slice of cake they were allowed; however, anyone believing that they are 100% satisfied are completely out of their minds.
It is no wonder that teams are jumping ship from the Mountain West Conference to BCS conferences. Their treatment by the BCS is downright absurd. Utah will be transferring over to the Pac-10 and TCU will be heading to the Big East. To add on, BYU will be moving on as an independent football program. Thanks to the BCS, the MWC has been forced to watch their strongest members jump ship. Anyone thinking that the MWC’s newest member, Boise State, isn’t possibly looking to find a home in a BCS conference as well is out of their minds.
It is absolutely disgraceful that teams even feel a slight need to do this.
Even with the jump though, I don’t believe much will change. Even had TCU been in the Big East conference this season, I don’t see their fate being any different. We would still be hearing about how weak their conference schedule was since the next best Big East team would have been this year’s “champ”, 8-4 (and unranked) UCONN, who was spanked by an OU team that did not even play a good game themselves in the Fiesta Bowl.
Speaking of UCONN, that brings me to my next point. It’s laughable that they were even allowed to play in the BCS as is the Big East in general. Hell, we should really toss the ACC into this discussion too because they are even worse. Since the BCS was in place, the Big East is 6-7 in BCS bowl games and their conference has produced zero at-large bids, meaning all their BCS appearances are from their champ as contractually obligated. Now while 6-7 isn’t too awful, you have to keep in mind that three of those wins come from now departed (and now awful) Miami, so taking those wins away you are looking at 3-7, ouch. The ACC has been even worse, going 2-11 in BCS bowls and, like the Big East, have produced zero at-large teams.
In comparison, the MWC has gone 3-1 and the WAC has gone 2-1. The MWC’s sole loss has come at the hands of Boise State, meaning that against the “big boys”, non-AQs are now 5-1 in BCS bowl play.
So when the BCS pundits come rolling in saying that it is a joke the NFL has a sub-.500 team in the playoffs, they can rightly shove it. That does nothing to show that their postseason system is worth a damn.
Unlike the BCS, the Saints season will not end if they crush the Seahawks. They will get the chance to, get this, play for the title despite not being one of the top two records in the NFL. Also to note, unlike the BCS, the NFL doesn’t exclude all but two teams to play for their title as well. The top two teams in each conference get their bonus in a bye week, but they still have to earn the right to play for the Super Bowl just like all the other postseason bound teams.
When the NFL season ends, no one says “man, if only X team could play the winner of the Super Bowl”. It doesn’t happen, period. This isn’t the first time 10 win teams have missed the playoffs due to a division winner having a worse record. It’s just how it goes in the NFL, and guess what, it means that every week matters during the regular season as just one more win could have been the difference.
The only time I can recall there being any actual dispute of the NFL champion was when the AFL was in existence. However, eventually the NFL had enough common sense to merge and crown an undisputed champion every year.
But no, teams will bust their ass year in and year out, and for some unlucky one loss or non-AQ team, their reward is usually to play Big East or ACC fodder that will end their season no matter how well they play. Even worse is a team that remains undefeated and watches their season end unblemished, only to be sitting at home when another teams raises a trophy that they never got the right to play for. For some reason, FBS football is the only sport that allows this to occur year in and year out with no real change.
And somehow, it continues to sign multi-million, multi-year contracts with major television networks to keep it going. We are three BCS games in thus far and only one hasn’t been a lopsided victory: the one with the non-AQ team.
It is truly the best scam in sports today.