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The BCS Debate
November 27, 2010 - Al Stephenson
E. Gordon Gee has spoken, and much to the chagrin of many Ohio State faithful, he has made much of the country look at him as if he is half nuts. The Ohio State University President suggested that he knows little about the X's and O's of college football. That statement in and of itself would be a good argument against saying anything further about the game or the BCS system that determines who will play for the national championship. That however, would not be the style of the man that some refer to as E. Gordon Geek.
He defended the BCS although he called it mysterious. He does not want to see a playoff, suggesting that we go back to simply having the Bowl games and vote on the champion like in the past if indeed the BCS is dumped. Interesting, though not the biggest controversy in his speech. He insinuated that Boise State should not be considered for the title game if it came down to a choice between an undefeated Bronco team and a one loss SEC or Big Ten school. They do not run the gauntlet week after week like his Buckeyes or the SEC teams do according to Gee. Boise State's schedule is not up to snuff with the major conferences.
This caused an immediate reaction from the Boise State President. "We can't get schools in the top 25 to play us in a home and home series," he suggested. They have tried and the major conferences don't want to travel to the Smurf field in Boise (you can debate whether it's the blue turf or the chance for a loss that makes the big boys balk). Boise's top executive also points out that the SEC and Big Ten schools play 7 home games and with the exception of one decent opponent, their nonconference schedules are filled with cupcakes. Touche, E. Gordon.
I think E. Gordon Gee made a valid point when suggesting that an undefeated team (Boise State, at least until last night) with a weaker schedule may not be a better team than a one loss (OSU, LSU?) major conference team with a killer (except for the cupcakes) schedule. Gary Danielson (a Big Ten grad it should be pointed out) reiterated that argument on TV broadcasting the Alabama-Auburn game yesterday. Is it fair to rule out a Boise State or TCU from the get go because of their schedule? I don't think so.
So what is the solution. Actually there is none. No matter what system you use it will have flaws - and yes that includes a playoff. For those that advocate a playoff, my question is how many teams do you take? In some years four is plenty; in other years a dozen may be deserving. Then there is the question about the Bowl games, when the playoff will take place and what about final exams. When will they be administered? Some of these football players are indeed serious students.
Here's my proposal. The Bowl games are going to stay. There is too much money for all involved to drop them. Let's end the regular season in November. The first two weeks of December will be used for playoffs involving the top 8 teams. After those two rounds of games you have two left to vie for the national title. This can be done at one of the existing bowl games and can be rotated. That gives the top two teams two weeks to prepare. There will be no three to six week layoffs which is like starting the season all over again.
Again let me suggest that this is not perfect because there is no perfect solution. What about the conference championship games? When will exams be? How do you select the top 8 teams? Just thought I would throw that out there before anyone else does!
The view from my seat suggests that my theory may be plausible. Will it happen? Probably not, but something is going to give. People want a more legitimate national champion and until we get one the debate will rage on!
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