Time for the BCS to go

Emin Avakian

The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was implemented beginning with the 1998 season to determine the national champion for college football’hellip;?

‘Wait a minute! Is there seriously going to be another column on the BCS?’?

Does the BCS still determine the national champion in college football? Exactly. Yes, there is going to be another column on the flawed system that is the BCS.?

‘hellip; while maintaining and enhancing the bowl system that’s nearly 100 years old.?

The BCS is a five-game arrangement for postseason college football that is designed to match the two top-rated teams in a national championship game and to create exciting and competitive match-ups between eight other highly-regarded teams in four other games.?

Four OTHER games. That’s kind of the problem, my fellow sports fan.?

Basically what we see year in and year out is two teams play for a national championship while eight other teams play in consolation playoff games.?

In 2009, the championship game will be played in Miami while the eight ‘other highly-regarded teams’ will play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, and the FedEx Orange Bowl. The teams are to be decided, but bet that there is going to be some controversy.?

Controversy because instead of the national championship being decided on the field, there is this system that annually makes us wonder if the third-ranked team could have maybe beat the team that won the championship game. And we never know, because there is no playoff system.?

Instead, the BCS likes to be complicated and determine standings with their three components: USA Today Coaches Poll, Harris Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings. Each component counts as one-third toward a team’s overall BCS score.?

But look at the components more closely: two of the three are polls. That means humans are involved, which essentially means subjectivity.

In the Harris poll and USA Today poll, a team is evaluated on the number of voting points it receives in each one. A team’s Harris score will be its points in the poll divided by its total possible voting points (if 114 voters, then 2850=114 x 25). The same formula will apply to the USA Today poll and its total voting points (if 63 voters, then 1575=63 x 25).

The number of actual voters, which can vary, is figured into the computation on a weekly basis in stating each team’s percentage of a possible perfect score.

Confused? Same here. And to think it could be less confusing by just playing more football.

It’s true that the BCS places great premium on the regular season of college football. But what does it mean if only two teams play for the national championship??

College basketball’s regular season is of high importance also. If a team loses three games, they’re not going to be ranked first in the nation. And what’s better than March Madness? It’s the greatest time of the year and it leaves no room for doubt because the championship is decided on the court.?

As one BCS conference commissioner said: ‘the celebration that occurs among the student-athletes, coaching staff and fans at the end of each bowl games is an indication of the importance of all bowl games.’?

Uh, someone hasn’t seen the celebrations after a team gets into the Final Four.?
What’s so frustrating is that the ones who manage the BCS (commissioners of the 11 NCAA Division I-A conferences, the director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame, and representatives of the bowl organizations) are so stubborn, they won’t even think twice about making the necessary change to a system where the championship is decided on the field.

The NCAA membership has not proposed the creation of a playoff method. One of their arguments is that the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams met only eight times in bowl games in the 57 seasons between 1936 and 1992, when the ‘bowl coalition’ (a predecessor of the BCS) was created. No. 1 and No. 2 have met eight times in the 15 years since 1992. In the nine-year history of the BCS, the AP’s No. 1 and No. 2 have met six times.

But that’s not the point. The point is that the best team might not be No. 1 or No. 2. My beloved USC Trojans are not going to play for a national championship in January, but they could very well be the best team in the country. ?

USC coach Pete Carroll had it right when he recently said the BCS ‘stinks.’?

So let’s listen to President-elect Barack Obama and do away with the BCS. Or else, more columns.