Death to the BCS
Three sportswriters call for sacking the Bowl Championship Series and replacing it with a true playoff.
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What really sticks in the craw of the authors is that the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of college sports, holds 88 championships in different sports and for different divisions. The one exception is major-college football. There are many reasons for this, but basically what it boils down to is that the bowls have benefited the sport for many years and few in power want to see them go away or be marginalized into insignificance.Skip to next paragraph
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The BCS was created, in a sense, to work around the NCAA’s resistence to a playoff by orchestrating a postseason lineup to produce an undisputed champion. The problem is, as happened this season, some worthy team gets left out of the championship game. This time it was Texas Christian University, which completed a 13-0 campaign at the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin. But could the Horned Frogs beat either Auburn or Oregon? Maybe, but without a true playoff we’ll never know.
“Death to the BCS” proposes a four-week, 16-team playoff that would roughly coincide with the existing bowl season. (By the way, Mark Cuban, the owner of basketball’s Dallas Mavericks, has offered to spend $500 million to arrange such a playoff).
The champions of all 11 major conferences would be automatic qualifiers; the remaining five berths would be awarded to at-large selections. Up until the championship game, games would be played in the stadiums of participating teams, ensuring large crowds. The championship game would annually be played at the Rose Bowl, much as the College Baseball World Series is always in Omaha, Neb., but the finals showdown would be separate from the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game. The authors contend that this would not only be the fair way to determine a champion, but would generate ongoing suspense and far greater revenue than the BCS currently does.
There may be a few weaknesses in their master plan (including the presumption that existing bowl games would mostly survive), but overall it seems a pretty compelling alternative to what exists.
Ross Atkin is an editor at the Monitor.