Defending the BCS

In light of the Giants defeating the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the BCS haters/playoff defenders need to reconsider their stance.  Playoffs are the wrong "solution" to a non-existent problem.  The bowl system as it is now is the best way for college football to proceed.

Has the BCS gotten it right every year?  Hardly.  Last year's craptacular slate was uninspiring, unentertaining, and no one watched.  (Homerism:  Mizzou got... what's worse than robbed?  Burgled?  Yes, Mizzou was burgled).  We could argue the merits of LSU and Ohio State versus Georgia (didn't win their division), Mizzou (didn't win their conference), Oklahoma (lost to Colorado) and USC (they LOST TO STANFORD!!!!), but the goal of the BCS is to have the top 2 teams play each other for the MNC.  I believe they actually got it right last year.  No one would attempt to argue that either LSU or OSU was outside of the top 5.

But what about a playoff system?  Wouldn't that be best?  The Super Bowl tells us emphatically "No."  The Giants won last night.  They were the 5th best team in their conference.  That means they were about the 9th or 10th best team throughout the season.  The Steelers won two years ago as the last man in.  Were those the best teams in the NFL?  Some would say they were the best when it counted.  I ask, would you want regular season games in college to be less important than they are now?  For a lot of us, that is part of the appeal of college.  The do or die of every weekend.  Michigan understands.  USC understands (even though they acted like they didn't).  For comparison, the pre-bowl game AP had the following 9-12:

  1. Florida
  1. Hawai'i
  1. West Virginia
  1. Arizona State

Would you be OK with "Your BCS Champion Arizona State Sun Devils" after a playoff this year?  I doubt it.  Do or die.  Enjoy your bowls boys, but don't fool yourselves.

And consider if Virginia Tech defeated LSU in the championship of a playoff.  They would each have defeated the other last year, but Virginia Tech would be champions based on when their win occurred.  Certainly this could happen with the BCS, but I think that will be avoided at any cost under the current system (see: Michigan and Ohio State, 2006).  The Patriots already beat the Giants this year (in New... Jersey).  The Giants are better because they won in February?  

Outcomes like this under a playoff system are far from rare.  The last Cardinals World Series, the Marlins ever, the Mavericks first round flop last year, the Blues (annual) collapse, etc.  If you want a champion the BCS is the best method.

And come on, these are college kids.  Mostly just playing for the love of the game.  For every Reggie Bush, a superstar at a glam program waiting for his NFL millions and getting paid while waiting, there are 1000 Kevin O'Connells (a QB for San Diego State who I am supposing is not being courted by agents).  For them, playing in a bowl can be the highlight of a career (see: Mizzou, late 90's, before we got spoiled this year).  All the sportscasters and media folk should realize we don't need a champion, but if we insist, make sure it is a true champion.  Otherwise, let the boys play and enjoy it for what it's worth.

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