Friday, October 24, 2008

BCS Detractors...

BCS detractors, step down!

Listen, now that I am off and blogging, there is something that has bothered me since its inception. The number of sports reporters that hate on the BCS system. A little background may be necessary here. The BCS is a series of bowl games with the controversy following the National Championship game. Previously in college football, the National Champion was determined by a poll of sports writers and a second poll of coaches. Now they don’t have to agree, and therefore there could be to different National Champions. Now this is ridiculous! How can two teams at the end of the season both be the best of the year? That doesn’t even make any sense. Now as the college season would go along, the teams would play for these prestigious bowl games, such as the Rose Bowl, which had always been a match of the PAC-10 champion and the Big-10 champion. The problem comes in when the best teams are in different conferences that never ever play each other. In many cases, under this old system, the two teams might never even play the same teams at all during the year! How could we even come close to determining who was really the champion?

Well, then the BCS was invented. It is a combination of polls from throughout the country that uses several factors to determine the top two teams in college football that year so that they can play each other to determine which team is better. The polls take into account the strength of the schedule, not the perceived strength, the computers assign a value to each team beaten and lost to. This helps to eliminate the opinion of the sports writers as to how great certain teams are. It also helps to balance the sports writer’s bias that the SEC is always the best conference top to bottom. Now I have to say that I agree for the most part, but there are years that they are not. Everything is cyclical. This year the Big-12 is the best conference, not real argument against that. A few years ago, the ACC was the best conference. By evaluation the ranking of the team when they were played what they ended up ranked as, who the other team lost to, by how much, etc. The computers are able to better determine the competition. So the BCS poll seems to give the most complete picture of the best two teams and since they are guaranteed to play against each other, we can determine who is the definitive best team that year.

The problem is that reporters that like to hear themselves talk argue against the system because of “failures”. When you have three undefeated teams at the end of the year, it is hard to separate the top two out. That is why the writers get a vote, the computers get a vote, and the coaches got a vote. Well the writers got pissy and pulled out of the BCS poll (ridiculous!), and now it is computer polls and coach’s polls. The real issue is that these self same writers can only criticize the system. They never complained about the old system, in which number one and number two might never play or have any comparables. I can concede the point that it may not be the most perfect system because there is a dividing line after the top two as opposed to having a playoff system. The problem is that the colleges make far more money across the board in the bowl system. Several teams that would never have a shot at being in the big game or the playoffs are able to compete in a bowl game and earn more money for their school’s athletic program. If you cut out the number of teams that get to play, there is certainly lost revenue. The other factor here is that number one and number two get to play each other! Even if you consider the number two team to be a number three team; at least there is a highly competitive game in which two teams that may never ever have played each other compete. The BCS may not be perfect, but it is a good system. The system works for the most part and the fans and schools benefit from this new system.

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