Attacking the BCS (Again)

Man, John…could you be more John? Way to seize upon the first regular-season game in five years to make the BCS look like a good idea and promote the hell out of your “let’s-take-it-to-absurdist-realms-and-then-see-how-you-like-it” point that the BCS is good because it’s different.* Once again, people dislike the BCS not because it’s different, but because it’s unfair. You’ve admitted this yourself.

*Methinks The Human Centipede made the same case on its own behalf.

Your pro-BCS screeds have taken on a pattern by now: you take a poorly conceived article from a member of the mainstream media, point out its flaws, conflate his vantage point with mine, and wonder if anyone writing such nonsense gets sports at all. You’re fortunate that 14 seasons of the BCS have provided you with plenty of chances to squash such low-hanging fruit; sportswriters are running out of ways to say the same thing each autumn. Last year, it was Dan Wetzel’s incorrect interpretation of college football rankings; this year, it’s Dan Wolken’s perplexing insistence that the hype surrounding LSU-Alabama is bad for the sport (since when is hype bad for a sport? Isn’t it about time Jay Caspian King wrote an article for Grantland saying the NFL should annex the SEC West since it lacks star teams?). Maybe next time attack a sportswriter not named Dan.

The valid criticism of the BCS—i.e. the one I’ve employed—is that it’s systemically unfair. Certain teams, regardless of what they do on the field, can never advance past a certain ceiling simply because of who they are. FBS football is an aristocracy, and as such is un-American.* Seriously, what does Boise State have to do to play for a national championship? They won a neutral (but realistically road) game against the ACC champion last season; they handily dismantled the team that will likely win the SEC East under similar circumstances this season. Their chance to play in the title game, however, relies on losses from at least three teams—and probably more. And look at everything the Broncos have had to accomplish as a program to get even that far.**

*”American” here being defined in very idealistic, non-colonial terms.

I mean, at this point the constant BCS back-and-forth between John S and Tim deserves a sidebar, right?

November 20, 2009

The Worst College Football Season Ever” by Tim

November 27, 2009

Fixing the BCS” by Tim

The Entire 2010 Season

Every Game Counts…Kinda, Sorta, Not Really” by Tim

September 7, 2010

How Boise State Is Not Killing the BCS” by John S

December 7, 2010

What I Like about the BCS” by John S

December 14, 2010

What You Shouldn’t Like about the BCS” by Tim

November 3, 2011

Defending the BCS (Again)” by John S

**Entering this season, Boise State and TCU were 74-5 over the last three seasons.*** Two of those losses were to each other. The other three came to Nevada (13-1), Utah (13-0), and Oklahoma (12-2, national runner-up). Again, what do you want these teams to do? Even joining the Big East isn’t going to help Boise, since an undefeated record in that conference doesn’t get you anywhere either, right Cincinnati?

***For comparison’s sake, the six teams to play in the national championship are a combined 78-5 during that same period of time.

Too many college football teams have been relegated to this status where they are given either no chance (in the literal, absolute-zero sense) or virtually no chance to win a championship. And when you say it’s still fun to watch regardless, John, you betray the fact that you’ve never actually rooted for an individual college football team. Yeah, the BCS makes for an interesting season if college football occupies a secondary place in your sports fandom. When it’s the only sport you really care about—as is the case in large swaths of the country—it’s a lot more disheartening when your team doesn’t have a chance. How does a person who has followed Stanford football his whole life feel when it has the best season it has ever had, when it has the best season it can possibly have, and it doesn’t make the championship? That’s a BCS school! The aforementioned Cincinnati, 2004 Auburn, and a litany of non-BCS schools can commiserate.*

*A college football playoff would almost certainly calm down realignment as well.

Would the No. 1 versus No. 2 showdown that comes along roughly once every five years be hurt by a playoff system? Sure, but by your own logic, John, it’d still maintain much of its appeal. You do, after all, like college football, right?

A playoff would give legitimacy to every other game that happens in a way that doesn’t currently exist. And such a postseason would still be unique from other sports that employ a playoff, precisely because the sport operates with so few bases of comparison during the season. A third tilt between the Packers and Bears in the NFC Championship doesn’t quite match up to the intrigue of a Boise State-Oklahoma State semifinal now, does it?

Furthermore, a playoff in college football wouldn’t fall victim to the ills of playoffs in other sports. Due to the brevity of the regular season, few if any teams would “clinch” playoff berths early. Due to the minimal size of the bracket, it couldn’t possibly produce fluke champions. It would be impossible to win it from a low seed without having to beat four really good teams. And if 16th-seeded Troy came in and won at in-state rival Auburn, at Michigan State, then knocked off Stanford and Oregon to win the championship, well, we’d probably just think the Sun Belt was a lot better than we had realized.

No one is disputing that college football is great, and Saturday night at Bryant-Denny will illustrate many of the reasons why. I just want it to be better.

One response to this post.

  1. […] and John S have been known to argue about the BCS. Now that the title game is set, Michael Weinreb makes his case for Boise […]


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