As some (or most) of you know, I took a class in my Sophomore year at the U of O called “Information Gathering.” That was the formal name. What it was (the class no longer exists) referred to as by students and faculty alike was “Info Hell.” An intensive research paper, 100+ pages, with extremely annotated bibliography entries. I lost sleep. I lost weight. It was Hell. However, besides the academic experience, I did take away one BIG thing from this class.
I know how to fix the BCS.
University Presidents, I’m waiting for a phone call…
(For the record, I am pro-BCS. I’d rather have the current BCS than a playoff format any day. You’ll see why below.)
The topic I picked for my paper was “BCS vs Playoff.” What works? What doesn’t? Why doesn’t it work? Why will X be better than Y? I got to interview Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly, former Coach/Athletic Director Mike Bellotti, and former University President/BCS Oversight Committee President Dave Frohnmayer. I got to hear all of their insights into the BCS, their opinions on a playoff, and what they thought of everything happening in college football at the time.
At the time of these interviews, the Ducks had just appeared in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995, losing to Ohio State. Little did we all know that 3 straight BCS games (including a National Championship) were in the future. We discussed how the BCS worked, and I was surprised to hear that all three preferred the current BCS format to a playoff system. Even Kelly, who had coached to a playoff format during his time in New Hampshire, said that a playoff wasn’t fair, not necessarily for the teams, but for the fans:
If you’re a fan, do you have enough money to go to 4 straight games and travel? Our fan base [at Oregon] is great and wanted to go to the Rose Bowl, but could they go to 4 Rose Bowl’s?
I asked Coach Bellotti what he thought should happen to College Football. His answer sparked my interest:
I would use the traditional bowl games as a forerunner for the playoffs. Make it an “And-One” system. After the BCS games have been played, play one more game if there are two undefeated teams, have them play one more National Championship game.
Those words. “And-One.” I’ve now spent almost 2.5 years thinking about this paper and those words. That’s it. It makes so much sense. Much more so than the 4-team playoff that is set to go in place in 2 years.
Here’s how it works:
- Bowl Season still exists. Alamo, Sun, PapaJohns.com, Music City. All of them. Allows for teams to claim that they were champions of something. Keeps the economies of those cities strong during December and January. Makes the fans happy.
- BCS Games: Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and COTTON. Notice how there is no BCS National Championship game. 5 BCS games still exist. You take a historic game (Cotton Bowl) and make it a BCS Game.
- Conference Tie-In’s still exist. Rose (Pac12/Big 10), Orange (ACC), Sugar (SEC), Fiesta (Big 12). At Large bids and/or other conferences (MWC, Big East, WAC, Independents) become the other players and make up the Cotton Bowl match-up.
- Play the Bowl Season games. People win, and are happy. People lose, and are sad.
Now here’s the kicker…
- After all of the Bowl Game are played, there is a re-ranking. Teams ranked #1 and #2 play in the BCS National Championship game. Location would be based on the same rotational system the BCS currently uses.
- For the re-rank at the end of the Bowl Season, NO COMPUTERS. ONLY HUMANS.
What does this solve? I’m glad you asked. Today, October 28th, 2012, there are 4 undefeated teams in college football trying to claim the #1 and #2 spots in the BCS. Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame. In theory, at the end of this hypothetical situation’s Bowl Season, only two of those teams will still be undefeated. Those two teams play in the final “And-One” game. Winner take all.
Think about it. A few years ago, Boise State got bent out of shape because they were undefeated and deserved a shot at the championship. In this situation, they get it.
“Hey Boise, you really want to play [insert SEC team]? Here ya go. Have fun!”
Are there flaws with this system? Of course. College Football is a flawed system. What if (like this year) there are multiple undefeated teams, and they ALL win their bowl games, remaining undefeated? Thus the HUMAN re-rank. Why are computers figuring out who is a champion anyway? Let the people use what they see and chose the proper game.
It’s not perfect. Nothing is perfect when it comes to College Football. But as I see it, it’s more fair for everyone involved…until you’re team gets screwed. And that’s where the problem with the BCS and college football really lies. Everyone is happy until their team is screwed. And no matter what you think, a playoff, the BCS, an And-One, nothing is going to make it better. Someone is always going to be that 5th (or 6th or 7th) team left out of the playoffs.
So grin and bear it. You’re still going to be pissed off when the playoff comes around in 2014.
So how do you fix the BCS? You don’t. You just edit to it to try and make it a bit more fair.