Posts Tagged ‘college football playoff’

Defending the BCS (Again) [Yes, Again]

Like a snake eating its own tail, of course I have to respond to Tim’s response to my response to Dan Wolken’s response to the standard defense of the BCS. In his reply, Tim accused me of conflating his argument with “poorly conceived” arguments from “low-hanging fruit.” This time, therefore, I’ve decided to confine my response to Tim’s own words.

The main point Tim makes is this: “People dislike the BCS not because it’s different, but because it’s unfair.” As Tim says, I myself have admitted that it’s unfair. This is true, but Tim’s dilemma is false: People dislike the BCS both because it is unfair and because it is different. The essence of my point is that, because the BCS is different, it seems more unfair than it really is.

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What I Like About The BCS

Playoffs? Don't talk to me about playoffs!

 

The BCS is probably the most universally reviled institution in all of sports. It is more unpopular than the Wild Card, free agency, Billy Packer, sideline reporters, in-game celebrity interviews, that weird ball the NBA introduced a few years ago, the designated hitter, Joey Crawford, blown calls by umpires, life-shortening head trauma, and even Roger Clemens.

Some of this is due to the blatant unfairness of the BCS, in that small schools from non-BCS conferences, like Boise State and TCU, are inevitably punished by the system. But this can’t account for all of the animosity towards the BCS—after all, in the latest rankings, TCU was #3 in the country. The BCS is no more unfair than, say, the absence of a salary cap in baseball, or the fact that there will be a playoff team from the NFC West this season, but it draws exponentially more ire than either of these injustices.

It seems to me that the primary reason for anti-BCS sentiment is that the principles behind the BCS are unique in the world of sports. They are so unique, in fact, that people don’t seem to even understand them.

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How Boise State Is Not Killing The BCS

Last night, as Virginia Tech was turning Boise State’s 17-0 lead into a game that would come down to the final minute, ESPN put up a graphic of the current AP top ten. “If the Hokies come back,” Brent Musberger said, “then TCU becomes the new darling of the anti-BCS crowd.”

This is the conventional wisdom—that college football fans who hate the BCS and want to see a playoff (in other words, pretty much every college football fan) should root for underdogs like Boise State and TCU in order to undermine the BCS’ legitimacy.

But this is wrong. People who want to see the end of the BCS should have been rooting against the Broncos last night. After their win, there is a more-than-decent chance that the Broncos will go undefeated—of their remaining opponents, only Oregon State is ranked in the Top 25, and they are already in danger of falling out. And if Boise State goes undefeated, then there is a more-than-decent chance that the team makes the National Championship. Continue reading