December 19, 2011 Posted by khelgeson in Sports
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End the BCS

Brandon Niles Sports Writer

It’s bowl season in college football, which means it’s time for my annual Bowl Championship Series rant.

Every year there’s a controversy over which two teams are selected by the BCS to play in the National Championship game. Unlike virtually every other organized team sport (including FCS), the NCAA uses a complicated computer ranking system called the BCS to determine the two best football teams in the country.

This year, it’s hard to argue that the undefeated LSU doesn’t deserve their spot, but many question the inclusion of Alabama, who already lost to LSU during the regular season. Both teams are in the Southeastern Conference, raising the usual questions of conference bias, and preference toward schools with large football programs. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has been strong all year, and likewise has only one loss. The team ranks No. 3 in the BCS.

Stanford boasts arguably the best quarterback in the country, Andrew Luck, and it too has only one loss against an impressive Oregon team that played in the National Championship game last year. The BCS ranks Stanford No. 4.

Are Oklahoma State and Stanford really not as deserving as Alabama for a shot at a national title this season? We’ll never know, because those two teams will be playing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl instead.

Are Alabama and LSU the two best teams in the country? It’s certainly possible that they are, but we can’t say for certain. When a team in a lesser conference goes undefeated, such as the Boise State and TCU teams of recent years, are we certain that because their schedules aren’t perceived to be as difficult they don’t deserve a chance at a championship?

Houston nearly went undefeated this year, but at no point did they ever have a legitimate chance at being selected for the title game. How can we tell the players for teams like Houston that the games they play in really matter?

The solution is a playoff system. There are 11 conferences. Give every conference winner a playoff spot, and add five at large teams based on record, strength of schedule, and any other factors. With 16 playoff teams, that allows for a playoff system to run four consecutive weeks, similar to the FCS system.

The bowl games can remain, but they would simply become playoff games. There’s no reason this wouldn’t work, and it would certainly mitigate the risk of leaving any of the best teams out of the hunt for the National Championship.

Imagine if the NCAA decided to create a BCS system for other sports, like basketball. There would be no more upsets, no more March Madness, no more bracket games. Fans would be outraged. If the BCS applied to the NFL, the NBA, or the MLB, fans wouldn’t stand for it.

This kind of system has never been considered for other sports because it’s ridiculous. Just as the BCS system is ridiculous for any other sport, it’s ridiculous for college football as well. The time has come to end the annual controversies. It’s time to install a playoff system in college football and end the BCS.

Brandon Niles has done online freelance writing about the NFL since 2007. His articles range from NFL news to team-specific commentary. A Communication Studies graduate student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Niles is also an avid Miami Dolphins fan, which has led to his becoming an avid Scotch whisky fan over the past decade.