Friday, January 9, 2009

Overrated! The Disaster that is the BSC system

After an interesting, and not very exciting Bowl Season in College Football, there is much fractal analysis to be done. There is always much talk about the roll of the conferences in deciding the outcome of the season. USC lost its chance to win the national title with an in conference loss in a "weak" conference, while another team with one in conference loss, Florida, is the national champion. Utah goes undefeated including 4 wins over ranked teams, but cannot possibly earn a spot in the national title game because they don't play in a "real" BCS conference (says Nick Saban whose team got run over by Utah in a Bowl Game). How frustrating must it be to know that you play in a division of football where even if you have a perfect season, you cannot be the best team.

While these examples clearly demonstrate some of the problems with the BCS system, I think there is one aspect of the season that stands out as the most dramatic. The Big Twelve South is the most overrated conference in the history of college football. It was at one point supposed to contain three of the highest powered offenses in college football history. Texas Tech had an amazing season, including a huge win over Number 1 Texas (another Big Twelve team), but gave up 47 points in a loss to a decent four-loss Mississippi team in the Cotton Bowl. Texas, furious about not getting a chance to play in the national title game, come out flat against Ohio State and squeek out a victory on a last second touchdown because of a bone head play by a safety and bad defensive play call. Finally, to top it all off, Oklahoma, with a Heisman winning quarter back and having scored more than 50 points in 5 straight games, gets shut down by Florida for the championship in one of the biggest games in school history.

The moral of the story is that no matter how big of a college football fan you are, it is easy to see that the current system based on Bowl games and conference play is flawed. It allows teams in bad conferences, specifically bad defensive conferences to build themselves up throughout the season, looking much better than they actually are. The best three teams in the country are Florida, Utah, and USC, and I would love to see a playoff system (Like Obama wants, to throw a little politics into the mix) in which two of these teams would play each other to become the National Champion. The current system will always lead to a January full of confusion, frustration, and dissappointment for the coaches, the players, and the fans.

P.S. A fourth Big Twelve South Team played in a Bowl Game. Oklahoma State lost 42-31 to Oregon.


  1. Not only that, moving the big games off new years day is a big mistake. it was a great tradition, to watch the national championship get decided by a number of different games, all on the same day.

  2. Hollywood,

    I take exception to your argument that the BCS system has any "problems." I think that it pretty clearly works exactly as intended.

    The BCS is designed to circumvent the NCAA and make the conferences involved lots of money (rather than the NCAA). The BCS is a money making machine, and is working quite well, thank you very much. College Football fans can't get enough of the bowls. They watch them despite their mediocrity. You can't say the same thing about tennis.

    Personally, I like the BCS and think it has been a rousing success, because it keeps College Football fresh, interesting, and different. Unlike, for example, college basketball. You don't argue who the best basketball team is every year. March Madness lets us know. I like the fact that in college football I can argue that the University of Washington was better than Miami in 1992. I like the fact that nothing is decided. Why do some people always want everything wrapped up in a nice consumer-friendly package? I think it is more fun to formulate an opinion on who the best team is without having been told. Here, the BCS, AP, and USA Today polls all have declared Florida the winner.

    As you state above, many people feel that Utah got jobbed. This means that Utah can forever argue that it got screwed. Good for them. But I'm not buying it. Utah beat four ranked teams, including Alabama, but the rest of its victories were against mediocre teams. It did not have to go through a bruising season and cannot seriously be considered as National Champions. It would be like saying that Juno deserved to be best picture last year because it was so much better than everyone expected.

    The Movie award season is actually a great metaphor for college football. We have the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the SAG's, and whatnot. Just like we have the AP, ESPN/Coaches, and Harris interactive polls. They all can come up with different winners, and all are fairly arbitrary. If the curious case of Benjamin Button wins the Oscar for best picture, it won't end debate on what the best picture actually was (nor should it). Likewise, Florida won the BCS championship, but didn't in any way end the argument about who the best team is (my pick would by USC). But I'm not worried that the polls didn't agree with me. They only mean something if we choose to give them value.



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