College Football: BCS Vs. Playoff System

What is the best postseason system to determine the national champion of Division I college football? Well, in recent years, the current BCS system has proved to be problematic in its functionality in determining the champion of college football. That has led many to propose, or at least argue, that the NCAA should implement a playoff system. In fact, the NCAA does not even conduct the national championship in Division I-A football and it is not even involved in the selection process. Let’s face it; the Bowl Championship Series is a joke as far as figuring out who the best team. Its true purpose is to generate the most money for the various sponsors that support this wretched system and the academic conferences. The BCS makes about $96 million a year in total revenue. If the NCAA really wants a true undisputed champion every year, a playoff format is the best and ONLY way to go.

All of the major sports in the U.S. employ some sort of playoff system. I believe that NCAA basketball has the best playoff, a tournament, to decide its champion. At the end of the regular season in the middle of March, sixty-five teams have a chance to win the national championship. That month alone is pure bliss for any college basketball fan. It is also a great example of wonderfully functioning playoff system.

Of course, basketball does not generate nearly as much money as football does, and the BCS is money making, fine-tuned machine. That is the only thing it does well. Picking a champion it does not. Since its inception in 1998, the Bowl Championship Series has conducted the national championship featuring its top two rated teams. Figuring out the top two teams has always posed a problem. In 2003, Lousiana State University and Oklahoma University played in the Nokia Sugar Bowl for the National Championship. Oklahoma lost its last game, the Big XII Championship falling to 10-1. The University of Southern California was also 10-1 and was rated number 2 in the polls, but Oklahoma still had more points in the BCS polls and they went on to New Orleans instead of USC. LSU ended up beating OU anyway and they were the BCS champions. USC won the Rose Bowl too, so the two teams split the national title. They SHARED the title. What a system.

This occurred again in 2004. Three teams finished the regular season undefeated. Auburn University, USC, and Oklahoma were all undefeated. The polls decided that USC and Oklahoma should play for the title. Many thought that was because it was what everyone wanted to see. It was the blockbuster match up. Therefore, Auburn was left out. They won their BCS game along with USC, but the championship was not shared this year. UCS was the outright champion.

Before the BCS, polls were the deciding factors in determining who plays for the title and who does not. Polls??!! Why not PLAYERS??!! The whole polling system should be scrapped. Players are the ones who are supposed o decide everything, not writers. A playoff system is in order. The polls can help decide the seeding of a tournament, and a single elimination tourney will decide the champion. Schools worried about students missing classes do not have to worry. Players usually get most of December off anyway, because only bowl games are played throughout the month. The top 16 teams in the polls can duke it out. It could be modeled after the NCAA basketball tournament. College Football could use a selection process much like in college basketball, to determine the 16 teams and their seeding. Of course, money is the real goal of the BCS, and that is the only thing that the BCS gets right. I hope that one day, the NCAA will run the whole show and take the blinders off it eyes and the avarice will cease. A playoff system is the best thing for college football.

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