Harrison: BCS Changes That Need To Be Made

Posted Dec 5, 2011

Harrison Week 14 Thought: The changes that need to be made to the BCS


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- Cirminiello: TCU - Totally Consistent U.
- Harrison: The BCS changes that need to be made  
- Zemek: The BCS selection problems
- Sallee: Honey Badger for the Heisman 

By Phil Harrison

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

There haven't been any changes to the BCS formula since 2004, yet it seems like at least every other year there is a controversy that threatens to shake the already cracked foundations of the BCS.

And now, this..Alabama, a team that didn't even win its own division within its league, will be playing for all the sugar in the Big Easy in a rematch that it lost. Whether we like it or not, the BCS is not going away anytime soon, so with the most recent snubs and computer calculations gone rogue, here is a look at some changes--under the current format that need to occur--yesterday, and a look at how it would have looked if implemented this year.

Change No. 1: Teams Must Win Their League to Be Eligible for the BCS Championship Game
Yes, this is the most glaring, and quite honestly, this should have been instituted long ago when Nebraska got to the BCS Championship in 2001. It's easy to look at how teams play on the field and think you absolutely know which teams are the best, but we can use 2006 as an example. The media fully believed that Michigan and Ohio State were the two best teams but voters revolted and Florida got in.

We know the ending to the story as Florida threw OSU's carcass into a cactus in the desert. It's just impossible to know for certain if the second best team in a conference is better than the best team in another conference, and that principle should be settled on the field, not by a vote. If teams from the same conference finish nos. 1 and 2, the selection process should go to the highest ranked conference champion.

Change No. 2: A Rematch Shall not Occur in any of the BCS Bowl Games
This subtle little change needs put in to take care of the off chance that earlier non-conference opponents finish as the top two rated teams at the end of the year to avoid any rematch from earlier in the year. Sequels need not apply in any game--let alone a national title game.

Change No. 3: Do Away With the Automatic Qualifiers and Conference Tie-ins
Let's call this the Big East rule. There is absolutely no reason why a conference champion should get an automatic spot in the BCS if not deserving. The Big East is seemingly the poster child for why this is all wrong. This year, West Virginia--barely even ranked in the top 25 gets to snake its way into a big money bowl. And its not the first time as the same played out last year, and in 2008, Cincinnati was the Big East champ at no. 17.

Quite simply put: If your league is not good enough to have a team that is in the upper echelon of the sport, then a spot should be opened up for a conference, and a team that is deserving.

Change No. 4: Utilize the BCS rankings for all BCS bowls
Here's a novel idea: How about utilizing all of the BCS rankings and not just the top two for the entire population of BCS games. After all, what are they there for? We can fix most of all of the issues with bowls picking teams based on its ability to sell tickets, and the injustice of how deserving it is by simply using the BCS rankings that are already in place. There are currently more asterisks involved in the selection process of the BCS bowls than a credit card terms and condition notice and that needs to change.

Why don't we save some ink and confusion and just go with the rankings from one to ten. If a team finishes in the top ten, it's in--period. Forget about tradition. That went out the window with sponsorships and the whole inspector gadget BCS formula in 1998. Forget about "relationships" and handshakes. Forget about prestige and a traveling fan base. Just do the right thing and reward teams that have put themselves in position to go to a BCS bowl because of earning it as reward.

Change No. 5: Rotate the BCS Bowls
Remember--throw out tradition (I'm looking at you Rose Bowl). To stop the insanity of the good ‘ole boy network and relationships, let's rotate the bowls based on ranking just like the BCS National Championship game is rotated.

One year, Nos. 3 vs. 4 play in the Rose. The next year it's nos. 5 vs. 6 in the Rose, with the same rotation of rankings happening with the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar. You'd get more first time match-ups and more inter-sectional types of games than what you would today. Each bowl would still get the NC game, and that bowl would also play host to the less desirable 9 vs 10 matchup for fairness. It would again be predicated on utilizing the top ten of the BCS rankings and give fans more opportunities to see their team in different venues and enhance the experience. It would keep things fresh and accountable.

How It All Would Have Gone Down this Year
So for fun, let's take a look at how all of these changes would of altered the landscape of the BCS Bowls this year. We'll get the big one out of the way first and go from there on a mock rotation:

Allstate BCS National Championship Game No. 1 LSU vs no. 3 Oklahoma State; New Orleans, LA
- Alabama would be ineligible for the title since it did not win its own conference. With the new rules in place, Oklahoma State would be the next available conference champion and would take on the Tigers. People could stop wringing their hands and we'd all get to see a newly coined matchup.

Discover Orange Bowl No. 2 Alabama vs no. 4 Stanford; Miami Gardens, FL
Alabama slides down to the Orange Bowl for an intriguing match-up that probably wouldn't happen otherwise against Stanford. It would be the battle of two Heisman contenders and showcase the defense of ‘Bama vs. the offense of Andrew Luck and the Cardinal.

Tostitos Fiesta No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 6 Arkansas; Glendale, AZ
Two teams that deserve to be rewarded get a chance to invade a locale that its fans could get excited about. The SEC gets another of its conference brethren, and the Ducks get to travel down to the desert to take on an opponent from the best conference. It would be a shoot out and offensive showcase with the first team to 70 points winning.

The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio No. 7 Boise State vs. No. 8 Kansas State; Pasedena, CA
This would be far from traditional and probably less than ideal for the entrenched leadership of the Rose Bowl, but we are going for fair here (remember the rotation in years to come). Both teams and its fans would love to invade Southern California and play in the "Grandaddy of them all." This is again--another match up that would NEVER be put together if money were the motivation.

Allstate Sugar Bowl  No. 9 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Wisconsin; New Orleans
The Sugar Bowl would host the 9 vs 10 BCS match-up since it has the opportunity to host the national title. The Badgers and its traveling fan base would get the opportunity to go to the Big Easy against the fourth SEC team to crash the BCS party in the South Carolina Gamecocks. It'd be another Big Ten vs. SEC showdown for bragging rights.

Some quick thoughts:
- Every team in the top ten gets in. No glaring snubs, no favoritism other than the rankings themselves.

- The SEC would get four teams. While this seems unfair, it is the state of the game right now until someone can de-thrown the king. The top ten is the top ten.

- The Big East and ACC get shut out. Shouldn't they? Both conferences lack the firepower and top ten ranking. They would only have themselves to blame for not taking care of business on the field.

- Boise State would get in, and rightfully so. The Broncos blew one game, but by finishing as the no. 7 team in the BCS standings, they should be rewarded. End of discussion.

It's highly unlikely that any of these changes will take merit because of the almighty dollar, but stating that the fairness of the current system is lacking would be an understatement. At the end of the day, college football is still what we all live for, and there is more to like than not. Still, if rewarding teams is what we are going for, and the BCS is going to survive the nuclear holocaust, then at least some things need to change.

Now about a playoff.....
- Cirminiello: TCU - Totally Consistent U.
- Harrison: The BCS changes that need to be made  
- Zemek: The BCS selection problems
- Sallee: Honey Badger for the Heisman