What’s in a name?
For the Big East and its members, the name means a lot. The conference has solid BCS affiliation thanks to the former powerhouses that inhabited the now-defunct league.
Every Division I college football program in the country salivates at the opportunity to play in a BCS game -not for the glory or the bowl game, but for the money. One BCS bowl game for a team like USF would set the program ahead for years.
The Bulls have never been to a bowl game in their nine-year history. But because of the Big East, they have the opportunity to play in a game that has a payout to the college of between $14-$17 million.
Consider the BCS the college lottery.
But the question remains: Should the Big East continue its BCS affiliation?
My answer is no.
First, before I get put up on the cross, let me explain. The BCS is a corrupt organization that has never batted an eye at schools like USF or Texas Christian in the past, and that trend should continue.
The affiliations with conferences does not give other schools from conferences such as Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference a chance to play for a national title. There are eight BCS slots for the four bowl games. Six of the conferences have automatic bids to these games: the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, Big 10, Big 12, Pacific 10 and the Big East. That leaves two at-large bids to non-conference schools.
Say, hypothetically, that Memphis runs the table in C-USA a couple of years down the road. In order for that team to even be considered for an at-large bid they must rank within the Top 10.
This is hardly possible given the computer system because strength of schedule is a major factor that plays into the role of rankings. Playing teams such as Southern Mississippi and Central Florida isn’t going to help much in that department. Memphis may have one of the best teams in the country, but its conference affiliation will always hold it back.
The initial purpose of the BCS was to pit the No. 1 team in the country against the No. 2 team in the country. Since its inception following the 1997 season, this has only happened once. Ohio State vs. Miami in 2003 was the only time that the national title game has not been debated.
Every year, the BCS tweaks its formula. They add a ranking poll, they drop a computer poll – none of it ever works.
Meanwhile, teams like Auburn sit on the outside looking in because they didn’t begin the season in the Top 10. The old adage of “it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish” has never quite applied when referring to the BCS.
Solution: Dissolve all automatic bids.
The No. 1 team should play the No. 2 team and that can be determined by the rankings. All the conferences, including the Big East, should be stripped of its automatic bid status. The remaining six bids should be changed to at-large bids. A team like USF would be just as comparable to a team like Ohio State.
Run the table, and you’re in.
Pittsburgh received an automatic bid to a BCS game last year because it sleepwalked through a dormant Big East en route to an 8-3 record. Meanwhile, Louisville, which went 10-1, loses a close game to Miami and has to settle for the Liberty Bowl. Dissolving the bids would solve the problem of not having the best team in the best bowl game.
So what’s in a name?
Well, that depends on what your name is. If it’s C-USA or MAC, it doesn’t mean much.
But if it’s Big East, it’s a quick undeserved buck.