Why The BCS Doesn't Necessarily Suck
New England WR Randy Moss
New England WR Randy Moss
Posted Jan 22, 2008

Saturday, December 29th, 2007. New England 38, New York 35. So why the need for a rematch? Why should a team that finished a full three games back in its own division be able to play for the championship? As Pete Fiutak argues, the BCS might be painfully flawed, but college football gets it right more often than other sports do.

Why The BCS Isn't All Bad

By Pete Fiutak

Didn’t we just do this?

Didn’t we just have a great game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots? Then really, why the need for a rematch?

In the college football world, it’s an annual rite of passage, starting around late November and ending around the 14th of never, to deal with fans and media, mostly media, crying and whining about a lack of a playoff like there is in the NFL. With the BCS system in place, and around for the foreseeable future, we’re all in for the exact same arguments, the exact same playoff proposals, and the exact same gripes.

We’re in for the exact same “BCS is BS” articles, the exact same beefing from the fan base of whatever team feels hosed (like 2007 Georgia, 2004 Auburn & 2003 USC), and the exact same misguided rants from the side of the media that doesn’t really follow college football or its history. While the end of the college football season often leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, there’s something no one, deep down, wants to admit …

The BCS might actually be the best way to come up with the most deserving champion.

Of course, the system has to be changed because it’s too loose with too much room for doubting the legitimacy of the crowned champion. The best, easiest and fairest change would be to a plus-one where the No. 1 conference champion, according to a BCS-like system, plays a No. 4 conference champion, while the No. 2 plays the No. 3. An eight-team system using the six BCS conference champions, one non-BCS conference champion, and an at-large team would work since it maintains the integrity of the regular season. But we’re not getting that. We’re stuck with the BCS, but as the 2007 NFL season has now proven, that might not be a bad thing.

We’ve all been brainwashed since birth that our sports seasons have to be tied up in a nice, neat little bow. We’re a society that feels empty after the final episode of The Sopranos. We eat the entire super-sized meal because it’s there and because we have to finish, rather than stop when full. We make Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday. We’re used to being able to know definitively who the champion is every year at the end of every NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL (when it still existed) and college basketball season. That doesn’t mean it makes any sense.

What’s the point of having a playoff system? Is it to determine who the best team is? Well, not really (the correct answer is money), because if that’s true the NFL would take all 32 teams, hold one big tournament, and everyone would be satisfied. As it stands now, an end of the year playoff forces battered and beaten teams to play in the biggest games, and it takes the luster and importance away from the previous 16 battles.

So now we’re all supposed to ignore the classic New England 38-35 win over the Giants, in the Meadowlands no less, and do this again because now it matters. No, New England didn’t give its full effort trying to go 16-0 and now it has to prove it’s the better team. No, the Giants didn’t give everything it hand in an attempt to ruin a dream season, and now it’s going to actually try.  

In 1985, Villanova lost twice to Georgetown in the college basketball regular season, and then won the final game of the year when everything went right for one shining moment. So who was the better team? On the overall scoreboard it was Georgetown 2, Villanova 1, just like if New York wins the Super Bowl then the two teams are 1-1, with one team winning on a neutral site and the other winning in the other team’s park. What would it prove?

Again, there should be some sort of a mini-playoff system in college football, as long as the regular season still means everything, but at the moment, the BCS has a fall-back mechanism in place to avoid the fluke factor that kicked in to force this unnecessary rematch in the Super Bowl. The college football human polls might be painfully flawed, but it self-corrects the system

Ohio State beat Michigan at the end of 2006. The issue was settled on the field, so the voters went out of their way to make sure the two didn’t play in a rematch for the national title, and Florida showed just how wise that was. Last year, Georgia couldn’t even represent its own division in the SEC title game, and was rightly passed over by the pollsters for LSU, who actually won the conference championship on the field, and Ohio State, who won the Big Ten title.  

Just like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is flawed because a mediocre team that finishes sixth in its conference can still be crowned the best team overall, the same goes for the NFL. The New York Giants couldn’t even win its own division, and lost to Dallas by a full three games in the standings, but it got hot for a three-week stretch and now it has a chance to be crowned the champion. Now the regular season, and all that happened during it, gets ignored.

The NFL has eight divisions. It should’ve been Dallas vs. Tampa Bay and Seattle vs. Green Bay in the NFC, and New England vs. Pittsburgh and Indianapolis vs. San Diego in the AFC. That way the regular season really, really means something, like it does in college, and it’s about actually winning a title to earn your way in. Of course, the best way to do things is to go old school baseball and have the No. 1 team in one conference, New England, play the No. 1 team in the NFC, Dallas, but that would actually be fair and logical.  

Fine, so the playoffs are fun since they jack up the intensity and the excitement to another level. Some sports, as the 2007 college football season showed each and every week, don’t need the gimmick.


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