I’d like to think common sense is what got the 11 NCAA Division I conference commissioners to meet immediately following the extremely lame and boring National Championship game between LSU and Alabama. The presumed premise of the meeting was to discuss a new playoff – wait, that playoff word is an absolute no-no within NCAA lexicon when speaking about NCAA Division I football – let’s go with a “discussion of possible changes to the postseason model”, which is how my favorite sports writer Chris Dufresne from the LA Times put it in his article Wednesday morning.
I’m smart enough to realize that it wasn’t common sense that sent the suits from the athletic conferences into a meeting in some swanky New Orleans hotel. It was, brace yourselves, a slide in television ratings for the entire bowl season, and other factors, including allowing a computer to dictate we watch a rematch of a game that was boring to begin with.
You know what happens when people tune out from a boring game right? Advertisers get irritated, and irritated advertisers do not write checks. Yes ladies and gentlemen, like Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Boeing, college football is a big part of America’s capitalistic engine. As it should be.
The NCAA is scared now because they want those checks. They thought they were big enough and their product was good enough to demand Americans watch a rematch. Well, Americans and their copious amount of viewing options stopped watching the BCS championship right after Alabama’s kicker hit his third field goal. This was about an hour (in real time) before LSU and that stagnant offense crossed the fifty yard line for the first time. I challenge anyone to argue that Oklahoma State wouldn’t have put up a better offensive effort than LSU. I know Cowboy’s, coach Mike Gundy agrees with me.
So here we are at a juncture – quite frankly, one we should have been at back in 2008 when the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast conferences both suggested a four-team playoff, but were shot down by the Big-10, Pac-10, Big-12, Big East and Notre Dame. Wait, what? Notre freaking Dame?! Yes, the same Notre Dame that hasn’t been relevant on the national football scene since Lou Holtz left South Bend, still has a say in the matter. I’ll save my thoughts on that for another day.
None the less, today the 11 conference commissioners are meeting with BCS director Bill Hancock to bring forth change. Here is the link from the AP I pulled from ESPN.com.
On behalf of college football fans across America, let me thank the 11 commissioners and Mr. Hancock in advance for finally allowing ideas to be thrown on the table, for cans to be kicked around, and for deciding to at least give common sense a chance. Thomas Paine would be so proud. But I’ll give it a couple more days before I start holding my breath.
[Editor: Please welcome mooneaglejones to the blog. He is an avid sports historian and filmmaker from east Texas now residing in Los Angeles.]
The BCS a.k.a. the Bowl Championship Series is a joke. Fans of college football deserve more. Of all the scams that the American public has been subjected to, this just may be the grandaddy of them all. For those of you who are foreign to The BCS, this “brilliant system” relies on a combination of polls (voted by biased coaches) and computer selection methods that determine relative team rankings. From there the field is narrowed down to two teams that will play in a “national championship game” held after the other college bowl games. This just doesn’t seem like a logical way to decide the national champion to me.
Case in point, this year’s BCS National Championship Game gives us a L.S.U. versus Alabama rematch. The final score of their first meeting, the so called “Game of the Century”, was 9-6. I watched the “Game of the Century” and it set college football back about 40 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good defensive slugfest as much as the next guy who thinks Dane Cook is funny, but would it have hurt to give us a touchdown? Just one. I argue that if either of those teams had an above average quarterback the outcome would have been drastically different. Just ask those teams what Cam Newton did to them last year.
The BCS dictates that a one loss Alabama team deserves a spot in the National Championship game, over other one loss teams such as Oklahoma St., Stanford, Boise St. and a hand full of other squads. Did I mention that I don’t find this logical?
The BCS was created to end split championships and for the Champion to win the title on the field between the two teams selected by the BCS. In that regard it has failed, as the 2003 season ended with a split championship. University of Southern California was crowned National Champs by the Associated Press – the AP no longer allows their votes to be a part of the BCS equation – and L.S.U. beat Oklahoma University for the BCS National Title. Despite the obvious flaws, I’m afraid we’re stuck with this system for the foreseeable future.
In 2010 college football crested the Mt. McKinley of monetary income, racking in $1.1 billion.
That number makes sense to me, when you factor in ticket sells, ad revenue, merchandise, etc. etc. And more power to them, we live in a capitalistic society. However, it’s that $1.1 billion annual income, that leaves us stuck with a crooked and antiquated system of deciding a national champion, in what is arguably the third most popular sport in the US after the NFL and the NBA… sorry MLB, you’re getting left in the dust.
Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com, wrote a fascinating article shortly after the bowls for the 2011 season were announced. Maisel talks about the history of the bowls and how they came about. As well as their strangle-hold on college football and the BCS. Now you take that $1.1 billion and add it to the old bowl system, that the college presidents from the major universities of the conferences affiliated with the BCS, don’t want to abandon and you get what we’re stuck with.
I love college football and the nostalgia of the bowls is quite intoxicating. I’m not proposing we eighty-six them all together. However, I do believe we can combine the bowls with the BCS rankings and then an eight team playoff played at the designated bowls where we end up with National Championship game. And the kicker is, the powers that be in charge of college football can still keep that $1.1 billion… Probably even more money once you factor in a playoff system. That to me makes sense.