The final Bowl Championship Series rankings came out on Sunday. Not surprisingly, fans across the nation are irate over the Ohio State/Louisiana State National Championship game.
Fans have wanted this controversial system disposed of since its inception 10 years ago. However, despite the yearning for a playoff system, the BCS is really the best system for determining a national champion.
Please, I’m just asking that you hear me out before demanding my walking papers.
A playoff system would not only be a horrible idea, but it would take away from everything that makes college football more exciting than the National Football League.
During college football’s regular season – and this season was a perfect example – every game feels like a playoff game. If a team ranked in the Top 25 loses one or two games early in the season, it could leave them on the outside of the title picture looking in. A prime example of a team feeling this effect is the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Virginia Tech was ranked higher in the BCS than LSU going into last Saturday’s games. Had Virginia Tech won their early season match-up with the Tigers, the Hokies could very well be on their way to New Orleans for the title game. Instead, the 41-point head-to-head defeat likely kept VT out of the BCS National Championship.
The excitement generated by each game is head-and-shoulders beyond that of any other regular-season game – even professional leagues.
One very popular opinion is to ditch the BCS in favor of a playoff. However, playoffs would do more harm than good.
One potential playoff format is similar to the one used in both Division 1-AA and Division 1-AAA. The champions of each of the 11 Division 1-A conferences would be guaranteed a berth in the playoffs, with five more teams being added based on their records.
This would kill the poll system, rendering rankings pretty much worthless. On top of that, teams such as Troy, Central Michigan, and the University of Central Florida would earn playoff berths, while teams such as No. 15 Clemson, No. 16 Tennessee, and No. 21 USF would likely be kept out of the playoffs because of poor conference records.
I know that college basketball is known for upsets in the NCAA Championships, but football is a completely different game.
The biggest, strongest, fastest, and usually best players go to the bigger schools. If a team like Brigham Young could steal a first-round game against an Ohio State or Oklahoma, does anybody really feel that it could hold up against this type of talent for a three- or four-week playoff push? I don’t.
Smaller teams do not have the size to physically endure games against much bigger teams, but they also do not have the players. That’s no slight on BYU, but if they did have these players, they would already be considered for a National Championship.
A playoff format also hurts programs that are on the rise. USF is a prime example of a team that could be hurt by a playoff system.
The Bulls are ranked No. 21 in the BCS, finished the season with a 9-3 record and had two of the biggest wins in program history – at then-No. 17 Auburn and home against then-No. 5 West Virginia.
The Bulls also had a 4-3 conference record finishing fourth in the Big East. Despite all of the big wins and accolades USF received, the Bulls would likely be left out of a 16-team playoff. Teams such as No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 Texas, No. 20 Virginia, and No. 23 Auburn would also be watching a playoff system from home. Are Central Michigan or Troy more deserving than either of those ranked teams? Under a playoff format, the answer is yes.
Another thing a playoff system would do is remove the mystique from the storied Bowl games. Games such as the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Orange Bowl would be replaced by first or second round playoff games. Isn’t tradition a huge part of college football?
The BCS may have its flaws, but it is also a relatively young system. Each year, the BCS is being tweaked to be as perfect as it was designed to be. It just needs to get through its growing pains first.